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Boris must lead a full tilt charge at the wealth of Putin and his cronies now

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Strike harder

BORIS Johnson’s logic for placing only a tame set of sanctions on Russia so far is that Putin needs to fear there will be worse to come if he launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In other confrontations, that might make perfect sense.

Boris must lead a full tilt charge at the wealth of Putin and his cronies now

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Boris must lead a full tilt charge at the wealth of Putin and his cronies nowCredit: AP

But the reality of the current situation is that Putin has already crossed the line and — in the words of the PM’s own Defence Secretary — gone “full tonto”.

It’s also far from the first time the tyrant has taken a chunk out of a neighbouring nation.

So there is no point ratcheting up sanctions slowly.

It’s far better to hit Putin with their full force now — and weaken him for the conflict that looks grimly inevitable.

The charge facing the PM is that he has been talking the talk on the UK’s commitment to target the ill-gotten gains of Putin’s kleptocrats, but isn’t yet walking the walk.

As the respected RUSI think-tank put it, his initial sanctions are akin to “turning up to a gunfight with a peashooter”.

The PM would not be short of domestic support if he went further. Tory backbenchers and experts on Russia and military strategy alike are clamouring for it.

The PM would not be short of domestic support if he went further than his initial sanctions

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The PM would not be short of domestic support if he went further than his initial sanctionsCredit: AFP

Russia — with its basketcase economy — does not have the deepest of pockets and funding a prolonged military offensive while under meaningful sanctions will cripple Putin.

It could also trigger what the increasingly deranged dictator fears above all: a bloody internal coup.

Crucially, as ex-Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt argued yesterday, it is not only the severity of sanctions that matters, but also their durability.

Western nations can no longer delude themselves that they can “reset relations with Moscow” by ditching punitive measures at the first opportunity.

They need only heed the warning from Ukraine’s foreign minister yesterday that Europe is hurtling towards a “devastating catastrophe that no nation will be able to sit out”.

Boris must lead a full tilt charge at the wealth of Putin and his cronies now, while increasing our resilience against the inevitable cyber-attacks that follow.

Unfixable evil

IT sickens us to hear that James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables is plotting a fresh bid to be freed from jail.

Venables, aged ten when he and his friend Robert Thompson abducted, tortured and murdered two-year-old James in 1993, has been released twice before.

Both times, after being given a new life and identity at great expense, he had to be locked up again for hoarding images of children being sexually abused.

How many second chances will be given to this fiend, who clearly has vile impulses hardwired into his brain, before they throw away the key?



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