"Putin is attempting to be the puppet master of the world, it is time we cut the strings."
As our friends in Salisbury (and now Gillingham, Dorset) are very close neighbours to those of us living in and around Bournemouth we are exceptionally concerned by the events unfolding in our region.
The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter highlights the need for the UK to adopt a tougher line on Russian assets. Russians suspected of illegal activities should have their assets frozen pending investigation.
This is a huge operation, and it is important to praise the efforts of the police, the NHS, the military and other agencies in Salisbury and nationwide.
Reports of Skripal and his daughter’s poisoning are troubling and there must be a thorough investigation. However, we must reserve judgement until a full investigation has been completed, and Rudd must now de-escalate this worrying war of words.
The Liberal Democrats have called for a series of sanctions against Russia in the wake of their alleged attack on British citizens, and we agree with the government that Russia is either directly or indirectly complicit in the attack.
The government must now send a strong message to the Kremlin by:
- Boycotting the World Cup in Russia and finding an alternative venue. (we recognise this is a decision for the Football Association)
- Seizing the UK-based assets of those implicated in this attack, and previous attacks through the creation of a UK Magnitsky Act
- Introducing travel bans for top Russian officials
- Suspending arms sales to Russia
- Ensuring that the forthcoming register of beneficial ownership trusts is publicly accessible.
The UK must collaborate with other nations, especially our friends in NATO and the EU, to put an end to Putin’s murderous adventurism, and show that murder, whether condoned or directed comes at a very heavy price.