‘Blood on their hands!’ Fury as EU nations BLOCK Britain’s bid to cripple Putin’s Russia

Ukraine: Zelenskyy announces death toll after first day of invasion

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The European Union has left Britain and the US frustrated after the bloc failed to agree to boot Russia out of the world’s biggest financial payments system. Meanwhile, politicians in Kiev accused the EU of having blood on its hands for not taking tough enough action.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden had both pushed for Russia to be expelled from Swift, in order to effectively cut off the country’s economy.

Cutting Russia out of Swift would have blocked it from most international financial transactions, including profits from oil and gas production.

Mr Johnson formerly raised the matter at a virtual G7 meeting last night, but no agreement was reached.

A source said: “The PM is very keen on this – he’s pushing it very hard.”

Meanwhile, at a White House briefing, US President Joe Biden said the move is “always an option but right now that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take”.

While many former soviet states who are now members of the EU were eager to press ahead with the devastating sanctions, countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are understood to have resisted pressure to adopt the move.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was reported to have said that certain measures should be “for a situation where it is necessary to do other things as well”.

Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was a “sensitive” issue “because it would also have an enormous impact on ourselves”.

The EU’s failure to take a tough stance on the matter has left Ukraine in disbelief and politicians in the UK furious.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba last night said those who had opposed Russia being blocked from Swift would have “the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children on their hands”.

The country’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said he felt abandoned, adding Ukraine had “been left alone to defend our state”.

Russian forces have made advances towards Ukraine’s capital after starting an invasion in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Missiles and gunfire have rocked major cities with dozens being reported dead.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who sits on the Commons’ foreign affairs select committee, let her frustrations at the EU’s response be known on social media last night.

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She responded to a tweet by the EU ambassador to the UK – showing the European Commission building lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag in solidarity with Kiev. Ms Kearns said: “The most powerful message, is action.”

Labour’s Chis Bryant added: “I say to my European friends, we cannot stand by as war crimes are committed in Ukraine and not use every single economic tool available to us.

“We must suspend Russia from Swift. Today.

“If we are spineless we will find Putin knocking on the door in Finland, Sweden and the Baltics.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned “this is not a time for half measures”.

She said: “If the current situation doesn’t make the maximum possible sanctions – including exclusion from Swift – necessary and urgent, it’s hard to imagine what would.”

Despite the UK and US failure to build a consensus around Swift, on Thursday Mr Johnson imposed what he described as “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen”.

The Prime Minister said he was sanctioning “all the major manufacturers that support Putin’s war machine”, will ban Aeroflot from touching down planes in the UK and will freeze the assets of all major Russian banks, including immediately against VTB.

Similar measures were adopted by the US and EU.

While the continent failed to back Russia’s expulsion from Swift, the bloc said it had drawn up “hard-hitting” measures that would have “massive and severe consequences”.

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