Boris Johnson attacked in press conference for not having sanctioned Roman Abramovich
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was attacked at a press conference on Tuesday over the country’s failure to impose sanctions on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Ukrainian journalist Daria Kaleniuk delivered an emotional speech to Johnson and she broke down in tears as she described the seriousness of her country’s situation after its invasion by Russia.
Abramovich shares close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and last week Labor MP Chris Bryant called for Abramovich to be banned from owning the Blues following Russia’s decision to invade its geographical neighbour.
On Saturday, Abramovich announced he was relinquishing “stewardship and care” of Chelsea after stepping into the spotlight in recent days in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Blues owner is believed to have links to Vladimir Putin – which he denies – and his ownership of Chelsea has been thrown into doubt in light of the harsh sanctions imposed on the invading nation.
His daughter, Sofia, lambasted the Russian president in a social media post on Friday, blaming the war in Ukraine solely on Putin rather than his subjects.
British Prime Minister Johnson was asked directly about Abramovich’s situation and the lack of sanctions against him by Kaleniuk during Tuesday’s press conference.
Kaleniuk concluded a moving speech to the prime minister by saying, “Ukrainians are in danger. Imagine crossing the border with a baby, or with two children.
“The Ukrainian children are there, taking the hit.
“And you say you’re going to impose more sanctions on the prime minister, but Roman Abramovich hasn’t been sanctioned yet.
“He’s in London. His children are not in the bombings, his children are there in London.
“Putin’s children are in the Netherlands. In Germany. In the mansions.
“Children live in mansions, where have all these mansions been seized? I don’t see that.”
Bursting into tears, she said: “My family members, my team members, say we are crying, we don’t know where to run. This is what is happening, Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson replied ‘thank you for coming here today, and I’m glad you could come here.’
He admitted: “We can’t do enough as the UK government to help you the way you want, and I have to be honest about that.”
Johnson added: “We are trying everything we can to tighten the economic noose around Putin’s regime.”
Abramovich has owned Chelsea since 2003 and oversaw the most successful period in the club’s history, winning countless trophies – including the Champions League twice – but is rarely seen at Stamford Bridge these days.
In the summer of 2018, Abramovich had his UK visa renewal application withdrawn by the Home Office.
Chelsea subsequently halted plans to build a £500million stadium in south-west London due to the ‘unfavorable investment climate’ and lack of assurances over the immigration status of Chelsea. ‘Abramovich, the club owner who planned to invest hundreds of millions of pounds for the construction of the stadium.
Abramovich has since been granted Israeli citizenship, which means he now has the right to enter the UK visa-free for up to six months.
Last week, Johnson confirmed that Abramovich “was not subject to targeted action” after he mistakenly told the House of Commons that he had been sanctioned by the government.