Boris Johnson wants to give away £700m to fend of Putin
The Foreign Secretary’s “empowerment fund” is reportedly designed to strengthen Britain’s allies against the Russian leader's increasingly aggressive regime.
Weapons will not be purchased by the recipient nations as the money will be given as aid, but the cash is expected to help Britain’s allies for years to come, according to the Sun.
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A large chunk of the alleged sum will go towards helping the Ukraine and the Baltics – both areas which have been increasingly threatened by Vladimir Putin.
Russia was slapped with sanctions by the EU and UN and was widely condemned by the international community for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
More recently Russia played an influential role helping Bashar al-Assad reestablish his stranglehold on Syria, despite allegations the Syrian leader was using chemical weapons against his own people.
Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014
Some of the rumoured money could go towards helping Ukraine and other nations to help improve their cyber security as well as helping fight against extremism in Syria and Libya.
The revelations come after the Mr Johnson announced that Britain must fight against the “cult of the strong man” in Russia and the Middle East.
The former London mayor was reportedly selling the aid scheme as a programme which would spread Britain’s influence across the globe and as a “soft” weapon against ISIS and other radical extremists.
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It comes at a time where the Government has come under fire for its £12billion overseas aid budget.
The Foreign Office was offering taxpayers money to fund community schemes in China – the world’s second biggest economy – to help it stand “on its two feet”.
A Government insider told the Sun: “The Department for International Development is getting a huge amount of criticism.
“But around a quarter of the £12billion aid budget is actually spent by departments like the Foreign Office and the Home Office – and that’s where a lot of the problems are coming from.”
Some of the rumoured money could go towards helping Ukraine
Hard-pressed families are fed up of paying their tax bill to see the money squandered on projects instead of spent on services here in the UK
Chief executive at the Taxpayers Alliance
John O’Connell, chief executive at the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “It’s crucial that taxpayers get value for the money they hand over to be sent overseas.
“So this pricey programme must deliver results or it should be scrapped.
“Hard-pressed families are fed up of paying their tax bill to see the money squandered on projects instead of spent on services here in the UK.”
The Foreign Office refused to comment.
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