Before Nato summit, PM says Putin has crossed ‘red line’ and sending more weapons should be part of west’s response

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson  said Vladimir Putin has already “crossed a red line” that merits ramping up the west’s response, suggesting allies must send new weapons to Ukraine, expand curbs on international payments and target Russia’s gold reserves, reports the Guardian.

The prime minister said the UK would impose sanctions against the Wagner Group, a paramilitary unit that operates as Putin’s private army, whose mercenaries are reportedly tasked with assassinating the Ukrainian president and other key figures.

“We’ve got to step up, we’ve got to increase our support, we’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today as we are sanctioning the Wagner Group,” Johnson told broadcasters before Nato and G7 summits in Brussels on Thursday.

In comments likely to delight Downing Street, the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said Johnson had “proved himself the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian”, according to the RIA news agency.

Johnson’s spokesperson said the prime minister was “one of the most active anti-Putin leaders. We have no issue with the Russian people and, in fact, we’ve seen many bravely protest, not least [the imprisoned opposition leader] Alexei Navalny, against Putin’s regime, and call on them to cease this war.”

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