- More than 100,000 Russian troops are on the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.
- The UK is considering whether to increase its military presence.
- A member of Parliament said the UK couldn’t “ignore” hostilities given its role in money laundering.
The UK has a duty to support Ukraine amid the threat of a Russian invasion because “dirty money” flowing through London is destabilizing Eastern Europe, a senior Conservative member of Parliament said.
More than 100,000 Russian troops are massed on the Ukrainian border, and there are growing concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin may attempt an invasion.
Ben Wallace, the defense secretary, arrived in Berlin on Thursday to try to win support for sanctions against Russia and plans to travel afterward to Moscow. But he told the BBC on Wednesday that he was “not optimistic” an invasion could be stopped.
The UK government is keeping an open mind as to whether to increase its military presence, Insider understands.
Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program that the UK had a responsibility to act because of London’s role in global money laundering.
Speaking from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, he said: “A lot of the dirty money that sadly is causing the instability — both here in Bosnia and indeed in Ukraine and of course in Russia — flows through our markets in London.
“This is an area sadly that has much too much to do with us and we cannot ignore.”
Tugendhat’s committee of British parliamentarians has long warned that Putin has been emboldened by the UK’s inaction to tackle money laundering in London.
A 2018 Foreign Affairs Committee report titled “Moscow’s Gold” concluded the best way to tackle Russian aggression was to stop the Kremlin from illegally laundering money through the UK and its overseas terrorities.
“Turning a blind eye to London’s role in hiding the proceeds of Kremlin-connected corruption risks signaling that the UK is not serious about confronting the full spectrum of President Putin’s offensive measures,” it said.
Tugendhat announced in January that his committee would reexamine the influence of Russian oligarchs’ money being laundered through the City of London — and why the UK government wasn’t doing enough to tackle the problem.
“We have again to address the issue of the dirty money in the UK,” he told The Guardian. “We will be looking more at where this money is going. We will be highlighting the overseas territories.”
A report this week by the American Center for Progress, a think tank with close links to the Biden administration, this week said the UK had become a “major hub for Russian oligarchs and their wealth, with London gaining the moniker ‘Londongrad.'”