Britain will push for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine and tougher global sanctions against Russia in response to growing evidence that Kremlin troops are committing atrocities against civilians.
Boris Johnson promised to “starve Putin’s war machine” and help build a case against the Russian president at the International Criminal Court.
Governments across the West have vowed to take further action against Russia after images surfaced of murdered civilians in areas that have been recaptured by Ukraine in recent days.
Britain is already lobbying with allies to send tanks and other forms of armor to Ukraine, while escalating supplies of artillery to help the country’s forces hold back Russian tanks and aircraft.
It is also keen to encourage European countries to speed up the deadline to stop using Russian oil and gas, as well as to sign a plan designed by the UK and US to exclude Russia completely from Swift’s global banking network.
Western sanctions appear to have achieved the goal of harming Russia’s economy and cutting off its elites, but they have not directly affected Vladimir Putin’s ability to finance his military.
Johnson said: “No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know is the truth – Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing and Ukraine’s determination has never been stronger.
“I want to do everything in my power to starve Putin’s war machine. We are stepping up our sanctions and military support, as well as strengthening our humanitarian support package to help those in need on earth. Britain has been at the forefront of supporting the International Criminal Court’s investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine. The Minister of Justice has approved further financial support and the deployment of specialized investigators – we will not rest until justice has been done. “
Foreign Minister Liz Truss added: “We will not allow Russia to cover up their involvement in these atrocities through cynical misinformation and will ensure that the reality of Russia’s actions is brought to light.
“At this time, more than ever, it is important that the international community continues to provide Ukraine with the humanitarian and military support it so desperately needs, and that we step up sanctions to cut funding for Putin’s war machine at source. “
Countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany, remain dependent on Russia for much of their natural gas imports and have been reluctant to impose an embargo on the country’s hydrocarbons due to the contagious effect of their own economies.
Other countries, such as Italy, have tried to maintain some economic ties with Russia despite the invasion and do not want to exclude it completely from Swift and other global mechanisms.