UK says not ruling out sanctions on Russia's Putin

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet on sideline of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany January 19, 2020. (Reuters photo)

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says his country is not ruling out sanctions targeted at Russian President Vladimir Putin in person if Russia invades Ukraine.

His remarks on Wednesday come one day after US President Joe Biden said he would consider personal sanctions on Putin if Russia invades Ukraine.

The United States says that Russia has been amassing thousands of troops on its borders with Ukraine. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to invade.

"We're not ruling anything out," Truss told Sky when asked about possible sanctions on Putin.

"We'll be bringing forward new legislation to make our sanctions regime tougher so we are able to target more companies and individuals in Russia. We will be bringing that forward in the next few days. I'm not ruling that out."

Truss went on to say that the UK was supplying weapons to Ukraine. Last week, Britain supplied 2,000 missiles and a team of military trainers to Ukraine.

The latest remarks by Truss come as RIA news agency had earlier reported that she would visit Moscow in February to meet her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, while Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his British counterpart Ben Wallace have also agreed to have a meeting.

On Tuesday, Britain also urged its European allies to have sanctions ready to go if Russia invades Ukraine.

"We have a hard-hitting package of sanctions ready to go and what I think it would be fair to say is we want to see our European friends ready to deploy that package as soon as there should be any incursion at all by Russia into Ukraine," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement to parliament.

"It is absolutely vital that ... the West is united now, because it is our unity now that will be much more effective in deterring any Russian aggression."

Johnson said Putin wanted to recreate Soviet-era "spheres of influence" and must be prevented from doing so.

The US has echoed Ukraine’s claims of a looming Russian “invasion” since November, though Moscow has brushed off the accusations as “fake news” while insisting on talks with the US and NATO on security guarantees in Europe instead.

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