Ignore the Brexit blamers, the Russki Bots, and the Boris haters. This is How Britain is leading the free world in defending Ukraine’s independence.

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readMar 7, 2022

Be it sanctions, economic or military help, the UK has led the way

Since Putin’s war on Ukraine started, there has been a flood of invective and social media hysteria attacking Brexit Britain’s help for Ukraine. It has been described as ‘too little, too late and far behind that of the EU.

These are lies sown by haters of Brexit and Boris Johnson (for helping deliver it), voiced by recalcitrant Rejoiners who cannot see any good in anything Brexit Britain does.

When I say ‘lies’ this is a very strong accusation to make of others, but here are the facts that show we are right to call out the deceptions being perpetrated on the British public at a time of Europe’s first non-civil war since 1945.

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK

“Your nation is so much at the forefront of the international effort that sometimes I think: ‘Where are the rest of them?’”.

-Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainian Ambassador to the Court of St James, 5 March 2022

The real truth behind British support for the Ukraine people

1. Banking sanctions

  • The speeches of the Prime Minister show he was calling on economic sanctions, including expelling Russian Banks from the SWIFT messaging bank transfer system, well in advance of other European countries.
  • Germany, Hungary and Italy were all resisting any action.
  • A degree of coordination was required and the EU confirmed its list last Wednesday of only seven banks — accounting for just 25% of the Russian banking sector. Crucially it left out the top and third-biggest Russian banks — so Germany and some other countries could pay their gas bills….
  • The UK’s list goes further than the EU’s — including Sberbank — the largest Russian bank — making UK sanctions considerably more effective given the amount of Russian economic activity that previously went through London.
  • Most importantly, Britain has frozen significantly more Russian bank assets than any other country, including the United States: £259 billion by the UK against £240 billion by the US, and only £33.8 billion by the EU.

2. Economic sanctions

  • It has been claimed in Parliament that the UK Government has sanctioned “only six” oligarchs since the invasion, but the Foreign Office has challenged this — forcing even a correction by Bloomberg news.
  • The UK has brought in sanctions on President Putin, Sergey Lavrov, and more than 300 individuals and entities at the heart of Putin’s regime, and Belarus. The number is rising daily.
  • The Government is preventing the Russian state from raising debt in the UK and isolating all Russian companies from access to UK capital markets.
  • In a further move, both the US and UK have stopped clearing Russian transactions in dollars and Sterling but the EU continues to allow Russian clearing in Euros.

3. Military and humanitarian assistance

  • The UK has been at the forefront of providing military assistance, training, as well as equipment to Ukraine.
  • Last week the UK increased its humanitarian support to Ukraine and the region to £220 million announced this year, including £25 million of match funding to the DEC appeal.
  • Yesterday the UK allocated an additional $100m directly to the Ukrainian government budget to mitigate financial pressures created by Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion.
  • The UK continues to supply defensive and lethal weaponry to Ukraine and the Prime Minister has spoken to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy daily to understand the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ needs.
  • 38 countries, coordinated by the UK, led the largest ever referral to the International Criminal Court to ensure Putin will be held to account for his war crimes

I will be publishing a report on the UK’s military support to Ukraine tomorrow.

These then are the facts. The UK was helping the Ukraine government right after Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014 — when other EU member states were not and when there was no coordinated EU response.

How Brexit Britain is making a difference to Ukraine’s resistance

Let there be no mistake. The UK is at the front of the international support being given to Ukraine in its resistance against Russian imperial expansion — for that is what it is.

The UK has been providing military training since 2015. It has been supplying key munitions and military kits since the beginning of the year when it became clear that war might be imminent.

And the UK has had to do all of this AGAINST the reluctance of many EU member states who would rather cosy up to Vladimir Putin and give Russia more business — effectively funding his war machine

When it comes to financial and economic sanctions the EU has talked the talk (eventually) but then failed to walk the walk. It simply is not good enough.

The UK still buys £2bn worth of Russian gas a year. The Prime Minister could seek to lead the west on this issue also and ban the purchase of further Russian gas, instead of obtaining it from other states such as Qatar. If it costs more then surely that is a price of war worth paying that the Government can support?

The simple truth is that, free to promote its own national interests the UK has been able to take a lead and shame the EU into action — obtaining a change in the policy of Germany and the EU on defence spending, sanctions and the supplying of military equipment. It simply would not have happened without Brexit as the lead politician would have been President Macron — as the rotational leader of the EU Council.

In the defence of Ukraine, Brexit has mattered, Brexit has made a difference and we should not let anyone forget it.

[ Sources: UK Ministry of Defence | UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office | Ukrainian Ambassador | The Prime Minister’s Office ]

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.