Boris Johnson denies being ‘most anti-Russian leader’ with sanctions on Putin’s gold

Ukraine: Belarus urged to refrain from aiding Russia by NATO

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The Prime Minister fought back against Moscow’s claims, saying he was “anti-Putin” and had “no issue with the Russian people”.

Mr Johnson attended a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday to find more ways to “intensify the pressure” on the Russian leader amid his “barbarism” in Ukraine.

It was the first time NATO leaders gathered together since the invasion of Ukraine began a month ago.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said of Mr Johnson: “We see him as the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian.

“It will lead to a foreign policy dead end.”

Downing Street hit back, saying: “The Prime Minister is among the most active anti-Putin leaders.

“We have no issue with the Russian people.

“In fact, we have seen many bravely protest, not least Alexei Navalny, against Putin’s regime and call on them to cease this war.

“We are among some of the world leaders that have been most proactive when it comes to taking steps to both defend Ukraine’s interests and up the pressure on Putin to change course.”

The Prime Minister has accused the Russian army of “barbarism” in their relentless attack on Ukrainian civilians and reportedly believes sanctioning Putin’s gold could “shorten the slaughter”.

Mr Johnson told LBC before his departure for Belgium: “We need to do more.

“And so we need to do more economically; can we do more to stop him using his gold reserves for instance, in addition to his cash reserves?

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“My message today in NATO will be that there are ways in which the world can continue to intensify the pressure on Putin.

“The more we do that now, the more pressure we apply now – particularly on things like gold – I believe the more we can shorten the war, shorten the slaughter in Ukraine.”

While Moscow has been hit by harsh economic sanctions, they are still able to sell gold on the international market.

Russia’s gold reserves are estimated to be worth over £100 billion, making them the fifth-highest in the world.

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