Alastair Stewart discusses Joe Biden’s Putin comments
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The Kremlin has admitted to being shocked by the strength of the sanctions imposed by the West following its invasion of Ukraine. These came amid reports of a united front against Russia’s war, with geopolitical forecaster George Friedman noting “it has brought the United States and Europe closer than before”.
But these sanctions have not come without cost, with Moscow appearing now to be geared up for punishing the West in return for its actions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced earlier today Putin will sign a decree restricting entry into Russia for citizens of “unfriendly countries”, according to Max Seddon of the Financial Times.
The UK is bound to appear on this list, in response to fierce sanctions from London.
This would likely be alongside the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia, among others.
It is unclear how this would impact British citizens already living in Russia.
It is, perhaps, unlikely these would be forced to leave the country, though this, like much else, remains to be seen.
Moscow appears to have been most shocked by the West’s sanctions on Russia’s central bank, preventing it from accessing much of its money (and preventing Russian civilians from getting their hands on much of theirs).
Lavrov expressed his surprise in an address to Russian students, who he last week told: “When they [froze] the central bank reserves, nobody who was predicting what sanctions the West would pass could have pictured that.
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“It’s just thievery.”
The Kremlin has also revealed it was “alarmed” by US President Joe Biden’s comments last week, when the US President said: “For God’s sake, this man [Putin] cannot remain in power.”
The White House was quick to highlight Mr Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia.
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But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the comments from the US President were “certainly alarming”.
In the West, too, leaders have made attempts to brace citizens of their countries about the impacts sanctions will have at home.
After delivering his Spring Statement last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted the UK’s responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “are not cost free for us here at home”.
This came after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss conceded “the UK and our allies will have to undergo some economic hardship as a result of our sanctions”.
Despite this, the West appears set to impose yet more measures against the Kremlin in an effort to deter any further aggression.
On Monday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced today there are more options available to the West which it can use against Russia if necessary.
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