According to information provided to MPs, UK companies who continue doing business in Russia are “complicit in the war crimes” committed against the Ukrainian people.
Former Labour minister Sir Chris Bryant informed the Commons that the Russian government had passed a new rule last year requiring all companies doing business in the Russian Federation, including those from other countries, to “assist in the war in Ukraine.”
All British companies should “completely and utterly cease from business in Russia immediately,” Sir Chris pleaded with the government in a letter.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a minister at the Foreign Office, said there has been a “positive attitude” from British businesses and a “willingness to take financial pain immediately in order to step away” from Russian markets and activity.
The Rhondda MP said: “The Russian government introduced a new law last year which requires all businesses, including foreign businesses that have any footprint in the Russian Federation, to assist in the war in Ukraine.
“That means any British businesses who are still doing business now in Russia are complicit in the war crimes that Russia is perpetrating against the Ukrainian people.
“Would the minister now make it absolutely clear that all British businesses should completely and utterly desist from business in Russia immediately?”
Ms Trevelyan replied: “One of the extraordinary things that we saw early last year when the war broke out was the positive attitude of British businesses and their willingness to take financial pain immediately in order to step away and demonstrate not only where we imposed sanctions and prohibitions but beyond that, to pull themselves away from Russian markets and activity.”
The government, according to her, will keep collaborating with businesses.
James Cleverly explained to MPs during a Foreign Office hearing how the UK’s assistance to Kiev “will all have helped” to hasten Ukraine’s road toward NATO membership.
After David Lammy, the shadow foreign minister, urged Britain to “play a leading role” in ensuring Ukraine’s membership in the Alliance, he made his remarks.
He said: “As the Nato secretary general said last month, Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato, and over time our support will help make this possible.
“Does the Foreign Secretary agree with me that once – with our support – Ukraine has prevailed in its war against Russia’s invasion, there can be no Minsk 3.0 and that Britain should play a leading role in securing Ukraine’s path to join Nato.”
Mr Cleverly replied: “I’ve very glad that (he) agrees with the Government’s position on this that Ukraine’s rightful place is within Nato.
“We have worked towards that aim and our support, the training that we provided, the equipment that we provided, the advice that we provide will all have helped to speed up the pathway from now to the point where Ukraine becomes a full member of Nato.”
The Foreign Secretary was also asked by Tory former minister Vicky Ford about the blowing of the Kakhovka dam. She said: “Will the Foreign Secretary confirm again that the UK will leave no stone unturned in holding the Russian regime to account for the damages that have been caused by their war?”
Mr Cleverly told the Commons: “She is right about the huge environmental damage that is caused by the breaking of the dam.
“It is worth reminding the house, I’m sure everyone’s already very conscious of this, that instances like this, the damage to other civilian infrastructure, of course, across Ukraine is only happening because of Russia’s war, because of their illegitimate invasion of Ukraine.
“The best thing that they can do to protect the environment, to protect civilian infrastructure and to end this loss of life is to withdraw their troops and do so immediately.”