COMMENT: Hitting back economically will have an impact

If hitting Russian companies economically is the most effective way the West can strike back at Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, then it's good to see Portsmouth City Council taking the lead.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 6:12 pm

We report today how its new multi-million pound contract with Russian state-controlled energy firm Gazprom to supply gas for the Civic Offices, plus other council buildings and homes in the city, is to be torn up.

The three-year deal contains a break clause and council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson is going to activate it.

There will be a financial penalty, but he believes that it's a small price to pay compared to what Ukrainians are having to endure.

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He says: 'It goes towards showing our solidarity with them.'

We agree with Cllr Vernon-Jackson and are pleased to see him taking a stand.

The contract with Gazprom Marketing and Trading Ltd, worth more than £5m, was only signed in October.

But events since then mean that it is right to stop council money flowing into the bank account of what is the London-based arm of the world’s largest natural gas company.

We know that Gazprom has close links with the Russian president, who brought it back under state control after coming into power in 2000.

It is also important to note that Gazprom has already been sanctioned by the UK government, meaning it can no longer issue debt or equity in this country.

The company has also just been dropped as sponsor of football's UEFA Champions League, following a 10-year relationship, while oil giant Shell has also announced it is cutting its ties with Gazprom.

Each and every action like those above will help to impact on Russia and show our total opposition to what Putin is doing.