Theo Paphitis tells Nigel Farage Russian 'oligarchs are fair game' amid Ukraine invasion

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to Vladimir Putin as the UK targeted a fresh round of oligarchs

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Entrepreneur and former chairman of Millwall Football Club Theo Paphitis has said oligarchs are “fair game” for the UK government to impose sanctions on.

Earlier today Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to Vladimir Putin as the UK targeted a fresh round of oligarchs accused of having the “blood of the Ukrainian people on their hands”.

Branded a pro-Kremlin oligarch, Mr Abramovich was hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban on Thursday after ministers came under sustained pressure to target him over the Russian President’s invasion of Ukraine.

The updated sanctions list, which hits seven new Russian elites, said Mr Abramovich has had a “close relationship for decades” with Mr Putin, which the billionaire has previously denied.

Asked whether or not he agreed with the government’s decision, Paphitis exclusively told GB News' Nigel Farage: “Remember why they’re doing this.

“There’s no due process about moving into Ukraine and bombing innocent civilians.

“There is no due process in Russia.

“The government, which as you know I’m not a massive fan of, have got very few weapons in their armoury in regards to this situation.

“One of them is sanctions, it’s the biggest one.

“They’re trying to put as much pressure on Russia to force some form of change, whether it’s a change in regime, or a change in leader.

“You don’t know where this is going to move to, it could escalate to levels that are unimaginable, that none of us want to be even thinking about.

“NATO and the rest of us don’t really want to get into a war to create that escalation where it becomes Russia against the West.

“Sanctions are important, oligarchs that have got influence over their President, are definitely fair game.”

After critics urged Boris Johnson to go further in targeting the Kremlin’s backers, the Prime Minister defended the “very careful” approach to imposing sanctions and stressed the need to establish “clear evidence”.

He warned Moscow of more sanctions to come, telling broadcasters during a visit to Merseyside that he would work with allies to “tighten the economic vice around the Putin regime”.