'Why would they stop him now?': Nick Ferrari grills minister over 'pointless' sanctions

24 February 2022, 03:41 | Updated: 24 February 2022, 10:05

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari has criticised the Government over its decision to introduce more sanctions against Putin, saying "they've not stopped him before, why would they stop him now?"

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Speaking on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Minister James Cleverly said: "We will respond with an economic support package, a humanitarian package, and of course - as the G7 leaders agreed in Liverpool at the tail end of last year - we will respond with an unprecedented, punitive set of sanctions."

Nick hit back: "If they've not stopped him before, why would they stop him now?"

He added: "The definition of madness, Minister, is when you keep doing the same and it has no effect."

"These sanctions - as agreed by G7 leaders - will put an immediate and huge pressure on the supply of money," Mr Cleverly said.

"We've already seen the rouble collapse in value and that will make the funding of this aggression increasingly difficult to sustain.

"The sanctions response will only be part of our support and that will include economic support to Ukraine, humanitarian support to Ukraine and military support to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against this attack."

Read more: Hundreds feared dead as tanks roll in and explosions rock cities

Read more: Oil prices soar as markets take a battering in the wake of Russian invasion

Airstrikes hit Chuhuiv, Ukraine.
Airstrikes hit Chuhuiv, Ukraine. Picture: Getty

It comes as hundreds of civilians were reported dead after Russian and Belorussian tanks rolled across the Ukrainian border and missiles rained down on cities after Putin launched a "special military operation" and saying he wants to "demilitarize", not occupy, the country.

The Prime Minister said: "I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.

"President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

"The UK and our allies will respond decisively."

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: "This is naked aggression against a democratic country which had dared to express a different aspiration than being a supine neighbour to Russia.

"No one should forget this day. Putin thinks this land grab is about securing his legacy -it will be, but not the one that he wishes."

In a statement the Ukrainian foreign ministry said: "This is an act of war, an attack on sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a gross violation of the UN Statute and the fundamental norms and principles of international law.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: "This is naked aggression against a democratic country which had dared to express a different aspiration than being a supine neighbour to Russia.

"No one should forget this day. Putin thinks this land grab is about securing his legacy -it will be, but not the one that he wishes."

Firefighters on the frontline in Chuhuiv, Ukraine
Firefighters on the frontline in Chuhuiv, Ukraine. Picture: Getty

Explosions have been heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, shortly after Vladimir Putin announced that a military operation had begun.

Within hours, Ukraine's interior ministry said there had been hundreds of casualties, CNN reported - despite Russia insisting early Thursday morning that they were only attacking military installations, and were avoiding populated areas.

US President Joe Biden has denounced Russia's decision to conduct a military operation in Ukraine as an "unprovoked and unjustified attack", declaring "the world will hold Russia accountable".

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the action during a televised address early on Thursday morning, saying the move was a response to threats from Ukraine.

In a statement on Thursday, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: "Dear Ukrainian citizens, this morning President Putin announced a special military operation in Donbas.

"Russia conducted strikes on our military infrastructure and our border guards. There were blasts heard in many cities of Ukraine.

"We’re introducing martial law on the whole territory of our country. A minute ago I had a conversation with President Biden.

"The US has already started uniting international support. Today each of you should keep calm. Stay at home if you can. We are working. The army is working. The whole sector of defence and security is working."

"No panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will win over everybody because we are Ukraine."

Ukrainian tanks move following Russia's military operation
Ukrainian tanks move following Russia's military operation. Picture: Getty

Mr Biden said in a statement: "The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.

"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable."

Melinda Simmons, the UK's ambassador to Ukraine, said she was "horrified" at Russia's action.

She wrote on Twitter: "A wholly unprovoked attack on a peaceful country is unfolding. Horrified. Just because you've prepared and thought about this possibility for weeks and months doesn't mean it isn't shocking when it actually happens."

Mr Putin said Russia does not have a goal to occupy Ukraine, but the responsibility for bloodshed lies with the Ukrainian "regime".

He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to "consequences they have never seen".

Mr Putin accused the US and its allies of ignoring Russia's demand to prevent Ukraine from joining Nato and offer Moscow security guarantees.

He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a "demilitarisation" of Ukraine, adding that all Ukrainian servicemen who lay down arms will be able to safely leave the zone of combat.

Mr Biden said he would use a G7 meeting on Thursday morning to draw up "further consequences" for Russia's action.

He said: "I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.

"We will also coordinate with our Nato allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance. Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine."

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen she was thinking of the people of Ukraine "in these dark hours".

"We strongly condemn Russia's unjustified attack on Ukraine," she wrote.

"In these dark hours, our thoughts are with Ukraine and the innocent women, men and children as they face this unprovoked attack and fear for their lives.

"We will hold the Kremlin accountable."

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said: "POTUS was briefed on a secure call this evening by Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Chairman Milley and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan about the ongoing attack on Ukraine by Russian military forces."

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