West too slow and self-interested to hit Russia with serious financial sanctions

Slow on Swift

AS Ukrainians bravely lay down their lives to stop Vladimir Putin’s monstrous march on Kyiv, what is the West doing?

Continuing to haggle over a sanctions package which, while an improvement on the lame initial effort, remains riddled with holes.

Allies in the west are under pressure to ramp up sanctions on Russia

For instance, Boris Johnson last night repeated his demand that Russia is ejected from Swift, the major financial payments system for international trade — but Germany is baulking at that step.

Meanwhile the Italians watered down sanctions to exclude Italian-made luxury designer handbags, and the Belgians (centre of Europe’s diamond trade) got a similar loophole for diamonds.

For its part, the UK only decided last night to slap sanctions on Putin and his foreign affairs henchman Sergei Lavrov. Why didn’t this happen on Day One?

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy is in despair, pleading with the West — in particular Europe — to go further and “act without delay”.

Putin, closely watched by his Chinese ally President Xi, has staked his bet that the West’s outrage at his warmongering will, in the long term, be trumped by economic self-interest.

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For all our sakes, we pray he has fatally underestimated his enemy.

Tragically, the omens are not good.

Red card, Putin

FINALLY. After days of shameful prevarication, UEFA has decided Russia should lose the right to host this year’s Champions League final.

F1 has cancelled the Russian Grand Prix, too, and Man Utd have conceded it’s no longer acceptable to fill their coffers with cash from Russian state airline Aeroflot.

The Russian Grand Prix will no longer go ahead as sport cracks down[/caption]

All of these decisions were taken in the face of public pressure — and only after the bodies of Ukrainians began to pile up in the country’s streets.

Better late than never. But our sporting bodies need to know that, while it may be inconvenient for their bank balances, where they get their money does matter.

Putin, like other dictators before him, loves using sport as a propaganda tool, and something to give his evil regime a veneer of prestige.

The tyrant was allowed to preen his feathers on the global stage as Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.

The decision to award football’s premier event to Putin’s mafia regime was lambasted as a corrupt folly at the time — and looks even more so now.

Russia must not be considered for any hosting of international sporting or cultural events for as long as this bloodthirsty despot remains in power.

He has crossed the line far too many times

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