So, why was the publication of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee Russia Report delayed and a heavily redacted version only released months after the 2019 election?
In relation to the 2016 EU referendum, the report stated: “The UK Government have actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered.”
It stated that Russian influence in the UK was ‘the new normal’ with Britain ‘welcoming oligarchs with open arms’ and that London had become the ‘laundromat’ for illicit finance.
So, why did Boris Johnson push ahead with the nomination of Evgeny Lebedev for a peerage despite MI5 and MI6 considering that there could be a threat to national security?
Lebedev, who owns the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, derives his wealth from his father, a billionaire oligarch and ex-KBG agent who is thought to retain close ties to the Kremlin.
Boris Johnson has visited Lebedev’s castle in Italy at least six times, sometimes in Lebedev’s private jet, making one secret trip even after he had become Foreign Secretary in 2016.
So, why has the UK Government only so far sanctioned two Russian billionaire allies of Putin when that supposedly over-bureaucratic organisation, the EU, has managed to sanction 25 oligarchs?
The White House has sanctioned eight, with visa bans on a further 19. The Government’s emergency legislation has been criticised even by Tory backbenchers who fear that delays will allow oligarchs to sell their assets and move their money off-shore.
Surely, it couldn’t be that the £1.93m of Russian money given to the Tory party since Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister has had anything to do with this?
Surely, nice clean Russian money couldn’t buy influence like this...could it?
From: Victoria Randall, Leeds.
GIVEN the nakedly evil actions taken by Vladimir Putin upon the Ukrainian people, it is beyond time that the UK faces up to the significant, shameful role our country has played in enabling elites with ties to the Russian state.
The City of London remains a global money-laundering capital, providing financial and professional services for Russian elites (including those linked to Putin’s oppressive regime) and thereby playing a central, pernicious role in enabling Russian aggression.
There are significant failures of implementation of the law, as well as blatant exploitation of loopholes by professional enablers meaning that very little has been done to prevent kleptocratic wealth and political agendas from entering the UK.
There are also strong links between the Conservative Party and Russian finance. Russian donors – including those with alleged links to the Putin regime – have given £1.93m to the Conservative Party and Associations since 2019. There is a clear and grotesque conflict of interest here.
Furthermore, the UK must immediately open its borders to Ukrainian refugees and waive all restrictions for Ukrainian nationals who are seeking sanctuary from Putin’s tyranny.
If we truly believe ourselves to be a freedom-loving, compassionate and humane society, the UK must no longer be used as a safe haven for Russian blood money, and we must immediately welcome and protect civilians fleeing death and destruction. The Government must do more.
From: Dr R Kimble, Hawksworth.
I’VE just seen an item on BBC News about how Polish school children are helping Ukrainian children acclimatise into a new school and a new life, acting as mentors.
What have we had? Boris Johnson says how we are leading the way with sanctions. In my opinion his lies are no better than the “fake news” Russia is using.
EU countries are putting us to shame as are our own Tory MPs with their procrastination.
From: Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet.
HOW admirable to see Ukrainian men sending their women and children to safety while they stay behind to fight the Russians.
Contrast this with the largely male exodus from Afghanistan, leaving women to face the Taliban or the hordes of men jumping the queue to illegally enter this country having abandoned their families to the ‘extreme dangers’ they claim to be fleeing.
From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.
WHY is Vladimir Putin carrying out this mad plan of war in Ukraine? What can he hope to achieve? It is unjustifiable, wicked and unnecessary. A retired American General now thinks that Putin has cancer – could that also, if true, influence the policy that Putin keeps carrying out, not only in Ukraine, but elsewhere? World leaders should be fighting disease, crime, poverty and global warming, not fighting each other.
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