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Ukraine crisis: Britain pledges to punish Vladimir Putin the ‘pariah’

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Boris Johnson called in City chiefs to No10 to press them to ensure a “hardcore” implementation of sanctions announced by Britain on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister was also expected to announce that the UK is sending more military hardware to Ukraine, having already despatched 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers.

A Whitehall source told the Standard: “It’s a case of help protect Ukraine and punish the pariah.”

However, the Government faced calls from senior MPs to impose tougher and unexpected new sanctions to hit the Kremlin or risk being “two steps behind in the diplomatic chess game”.

The City chiefs, who include regulators and major financial institutions, were expected to receive a security briefing, including on the situation on the ground in Ukraine, at their meeting in Downing Street this afternoon.

Up to 190,000 Russian military personnel are believed to be surrounding Ukraine, with thousands having been moved into position ready for an attack, according to Western sources.

Early Wednesday morning, Australian PM Scott Morrison said a full-scale invasion was “likely” within the next 24 hours.

Ukraine’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov said Ukraine would impose a state of emergency on all its territory, apart from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, parts of which were seized by Moscow-backed separatists in 2014.

But there was confusion over whether Russian troops had yet entered the two breakaway “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss saying: “We are seeing all the precursor to invasion.

Pressed on LBC on whether a Russian so-called “peacekeeping force” had been deployed, she added: “Putin has said they were going to be deployed. We do not have verified evidence that that has taken place yet.”

In other developments on Wednesday:

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