Ian Blackford’s response to Prime Minister’s House of Commons Ukraine statement

Mr Speaker,

I was grateful I had the chance to meet this afternoon with the Ukrainian Ambassador and Ukrainian MPs.

Although last night’s events have been prophesied and predicted for some time, the acts of Russian violence, aggression and tyranny are no less shocking. What we are witnessing is a full-scale invasion, it is an act of war.

This is first and foremost an unprovoked attack on the peace and innocence of Ukraine and its people. But it is equally an attack on international law, an attack on European democracy and an attack on the peace our continent so carefully built over the last 75 years.

President Putin – and President Putin alone – bears responsibility for these horrific acts. And it is he, and his Kremlin cabal, who must now pay a massive price for their actions. It is important to say to the Russian people that we know Putin is not acting in their name.

He is a dictator, he is an imperialist, he is a tyrant.

He is as much a threat to his own people, as he is to us all.

Mr Speaker,

This is a moment for unity – it is especially a moment for European unity. All of the economic sanctions that are now finally being implemented must have one clear objective – the complete economic isolation of the Russian state. Can the Prime Minister confirm this is the objective and that this has been agreed with all international allies?

That economic isolation must include sanctions on Putin and his network of oligarchs and agents, their expulsion from countries across the world, sanctions on his banks and their ability to borrow and function and sanctions on his energy and mineral companies.

And – as I said yesterday – it must mean finally cleaning up the sewer of dirty Russian money that has been running through the city of London for years.

And I know all the complications involved, but can I ask the Prime Minister the actions being taken to suspend Russia from the SWIFT payments system – one of the steps that would hit the Putin regime the hardest?

But just as we rightly seek to punish Putin, we must redouble our support and solidarity for the Ukrainian people.

Can the Prime Minister give further details on the humanitarian aid being deployed and the plans in place to offer refuge and sanctuary where necessary for those who might be displaced? And what plans are in place too to evacuate the families of UK citizens currently in Ukraine, given that commercial flights have now stopped?

Mr Speaker,

Let’s not fall for the Kremlin propaganda that they are prepared to soak up any sanctions. If we act now – if the sanctions are targeted enough, swift enough and severe enough – if we impose nothing less than economic isolation – Putin and his cronies will suffer the consequences of their actions.

So let us act together, stand together – and most of all – let us all stand with the people of Ukraine.