A senior British official is calling for the 2018 World Cup to be moved from Russia as punishment for the country’s role in the Ukraine crisis, as calls intensify from both sides of the Atlantic for tougher sanctions on Moscow.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg demanded stricter sanctions and the removal of the tournament from Russia due to what he told The Sunday Times newspaper was “ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”
“We’ve got to take tougher sanctions, but also we’ve got to make it quite clear that he cannot expect to get the privileges of being at the top table of world affairs if he’s not prepared to play by the basic rules of world affairs,” Clegg was quoted as saying about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
International football authority FIFA said Friday that the event will stay in Russia.
German lawmakers have also called for the international sporting event to be moved following Russia’s alleged involvement in shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine earlier this month, which killed all 298 people on board.
A top U.S. security aide said Sunday he expected European sanctions on Russia to stiffen in coming days as well.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told CNN that in President Barack Obama’s talks with European leaders in the last week, further restrictions on the energy, arms and financial sectors were “on the table.”
European Union ambassadors voted Friday in Brussels to extend sanctions against Russia imposed as a result of the Ukraine conflict. The EU added 15 individuals, including the head of the Kremlin’s Federal Security Service, and 18 companies to its list of Russian officials and entities banned from travel and commerce in the West.