Sadiq Khan wants ‘hardest possible sanctions’ against Putin allies in London as Russia invades Ukraine

Sadiq Khan has called for crippling sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s Russian associates in London, after the Russian president launched a “full-scale attack” on Ukraine. The Mayor of London opened his remarks to the London Assembly this morning (Thursday, February 24) by calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “dark day”.

Mr Khan said: “Before I begin, I just want to say my thoughts are with the people of Ukraine this morning. I know many Ukrainian Londoners will be extremely worried about their families and friends.

“This is a dark day in our history, with Russia launching an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation, which will lead to terrible human suffering. Russia must be held accountable, and I urge the UK Government to impose the hardest possible sanctions against all those linked to President Putin in London and across the country.”

More than £1.5 billion worth of UK property was bought by Russians accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin between 2016 and 2021, most of it in London, according to Transparency International. Nearly £430 million is worth in the City of Westminster, while £283 million is in Kensington and Chelsea.

READ MORE: Live updates on Russia Ukraine crisis as ‘full-scale invasion’ as first casualties reported

Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv this morning, as Russia launches its invasion of Ukraine

Making an urgent statement to the Assembly, Chair Andrew Boff said: “I will write to the mayor of Kyiv to express our support in the face of Russian aggression, and state very clearly that we stand with Ukrainian Londoners at this dreadful time.”

It follows Ukrainian police reporting that six people were killed in an attack on a military unit in Podilsk overnight, with seven more wounded and nineteen missing. One person has died in the city of Mariupol, they added.

This morning Prime Minister Boris Johnson branded the attack a “catastrophe for our continent.” He said in a statement: “I will make an address to the nation this morning on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I will also speak to fellow G7 leaders and I am calling for an urgent meeting of all NATO leaders as soon as possible.”

There have been ongoing reports of explosions in major cities and people in Kyiv fleeing the city or rushing to take shelter in underground metro stations. Ukraine’s President Zelensky confirmed reports of missile strikes in the country at around 5am, according to a Reuters report, including on Ukraine’s infrastructure and border guards.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the operation is aimed at the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine in a televised address to the Russian people, while Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has accused Russia of starting a major war and begged the UN to “do everything possible” to stop the assault.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky described the invasion as potentially “the beginning of a big war on the European continent”.

The military assault has led to international condemnation and vows of taking action. US President Joe Biden warned that the world will hold Russia accountable, while predicting a huge loss of life in the ensuing conflict. Leaders from the UK, European Union, UN and NATO have similarly strongly condemned the Russian attack.

I joined MyLondon as the outlet’s first City Hall Editor in October 2021, reporting on the Mayor, the London Assembly, the Met police, Transport for London, and wider London politics.

I moved to South London from Brussels in 2015, working in communications for the Electoral Reform Society, and covering Westminster politics as a freelance journalist. I’m originally from Cornwall and love the sea – but also London’s liveliness. I’m a big fan of puns, tea and twee folk music.

If there’s a good untold story – whether it’s housing nightmares, unfair decisions or local scandals, you can be sure I’ll aim to cover it. Got a story, piece of gossip or feedback? Get in touch at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter.

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