Iain Duncan Smith calls for the highest level of sanctions and interventions against Russia

27th November 2018

Following the Government statement on Russian action in the sea of Azov, Iain Duncan Smith says Russia is now a pariah state and calls for the highest level of sanctions and interventions against the country which is illegally occupying Crimea and large sections of Ukraine and continues to intervene in Syria and the middle east.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale) on securing the urgent question, and—not that you need it from me—I congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on seeing that this is a very urgent matter that needs to be dealt with.

We are now dealing with a country, in Russia, that is a pariah state. It occupies large sections of Ukraine illegally, and the very fact that it illegally occupies Crimea means that it has no rights under international law as regards this channel or any interventions to shipping that it has been making, notwithstanding the violent intervention made recently.

May I urge my right hon. Friend the Minister and Her Majesty’s Government to make a very big deal of this internationally at the UN, and as loudly as they possibly can? Will they say that this now means that we must have the highest level of sanctions and interventions because this country, which has intervened in Syria and in almost every other area of the conflict in the middle east and now in Ukraine, has to be brought to book—and that we have to do it now?

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that. I reiterate that we strongly condemn Russia’s act of aggression against Ukrainian vessels entering the sea of Azov. As he said, that act of aggression is a further example of Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, following its illegal annexation of Crimea and illegal construction of the Kerch bridge earlier this year.

We remain clear in our support of the rules-based international system, which Russia continues to flout. Russia must not be allowed to establish new realities on the ground. We expect all parties to act with restraint and Russia to de-escalate the situation immediately, and we are indeed discussing with partners what concrete measures we can collectively take in response to Russia’s actions.

The EU has recently strengthened sanctions related to Crimea by listing individuals and entities responsible for the construction of the Kerch bridge, which connects Russia with illegally annexed Crimea. By acting in unity with our allies and partners, in the UN and the EU, we can achieve much.