Talkers and kleptocrats

How kind: Putin is “offering talks.”

A little earlier we told you the Kremlin had signalled Russia was willing to hold talks with Ukraine.

Blamblamblam ready to hold talks yet?

But as the Russian military pounds targets across Ukraine, it’s hardly an olive branch.

In fact, the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, insisted the Ukrainian army would have to lay down its arms first and surrender. And his boss, Vladimir Putin, called on Ukrainian troops to overthrow their leader, President Zelensky.

Ya that’s not offering talks, it’s ordering surrender.

Meanwhile, also from BBC Live, Russia is unimpressed by UK “sanctions.”

The BBC understands that this will take the form of an asset freeze, but not a travel ban – which is what the EU has announced too.

Prof John Heathershaw, who leads research into international kleptocracy at the University of Exeter, warns Russia “will not take these sanctions seriously” due to the UK’s “kleptocracy problem”.

“There are professional ‘enablers’ that help Russian kleptocrats obscure their ownership and sources of wealth, gain UK residency and property, and launder their reputations,” he says.

Tackling this, he says, would involve regulation that is “opposed” by many big businesses.

So there you go. We’d love to help Ukraine…but not to the extent of annoying kleptocrats or big businesses. Priorities, people.

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