AN Army veteran from Catterick has warned of the long-term consequences of the UK going to war with Russia as one of the region's Labour MPs says the government sanctions 'must have teeth'.

Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions against five Russian banks and three “very high net wealth” individuals under his “first barrage” of measures over the Ukrainian incursion.

It comes after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to carry out “peacekeeping” duties in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

Catterick Army veteran Mark Tonner believes it is ‘inevitable’ that the UK will get involved in some kind of military action in Ukraine and he said that if it happens, the government needs to do far more to help Forces personnel when they return home ‘broken’.

The 38-year-old lost the use of his right arm and suffered PTSD after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010.

And Mark is scathing about the lack of support given to injured veterans once they return home.

The Northern Echo: Catterick Army veteran Mark Tonner Picture: Northern EchoCatterick Army veteran Mark Tonner Picture: Northern Echo

Asked whether he thinks UK forces should be sent to Ukraine, Mark said that the soldiers will have 'no choice' if that’s what the government decides.

He said: “It is something we are going to get involved in either way; it is inevitable, it is what we do.

“The lads have no control if they are going if a bunch of old farts in an office make that decision on people’s lives.

“But if they get hurt, they government needs to look at how it helps them and not leave them in the situation like I was where you are just put on the shelf.

“If they are going to send people to a live conflict or war, then they need to look at the support they are going to give them when they return.

“Afghanistan and Iraq were a wake-up call to show how bad they are at looking after the troops and that is my opinion.

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“They don’t give any help to the RBL (Royal British Legion) or Help for Heroes or anything like that.

“If you are going to break people, fix them, or help them to be fixed.

“I love my battalion and I would go to war for them, I'd go to look after my mates, I didn’t go to war to look after Queen and country.”

Kevan Jones, North Durham Labour MP, said he supports the sanctions announced by Boris Johnson today but said action should have been taken sooner against shady oligarchs with financial interests in London.

The Northern Echo: North Durham Labour MP Kevan Jones Picture: Northern EchoNorth Durham Labour MP Kevan Jones Picture: Northern Echo

Mr Jones said: “I do support the sanctions being implemented, but it is whether it is followed through with the political will to actually use them to sanction the individuals and institutions that are massively supporting Putin.

“The problem is, we provided an intelligence and security committee report on Russia two years ago with clear recommendations and they have dragged their feet on them.

“The sanctions announced are welcome, but they have got to go further and they have got to have teeth.”

Mr Jones pointed out that the US took action back in 2018 on the three Russian individuals now being sanctioned by the UK and he questioned why it has taken the UK government so long to act.

He added: “In Russia I don’t think Putin cares about the ordinary person on the street but what he does care about is the powerful oligarchs around him who keep him in power.

“The government has got an appallingly weak record of bringing in legislation to clamp down on dirty money coming into the UK, particularly London.

“We wrote the report two-years-ago and they have done nothing about it since.”

The Northern Echo: Darlington Conservative MP Peter Gibson Picture: Northern EchoDarlington Conservative MP Peter Gibson Picture: Northern Echo

Darlington Conservative MP Peter Gibson said 'the Government is right to do all it can to support Ukraine'.

He added: “A democracy on a continent which has only recently enjoyed the freedoms we enjoy,  after the end of the cold war, should be assured of our solidarity and support in light of an aggressive attack on their sovereignty.”

Paul Howell, Conservative MP for Sedgefield, said: "I fully support the sanctions implemented and would be supportive of more should Russia not unwind the moves made so far.

"We need to stand behind democracy and evaluate appropriate steps as situations evolve."

But Durham City Labour MP Mary Foy doesn't believe the sanctions are enough.

She said: "The sanctions announced today simply do not go far enough to hit Putin's regime and its cronies in the pocket.

"We should be taking a tougher line and targeting the very wealth stolen from the Russian people.

"For too long dodgy Russian billionaires have been allowed to both prop up Putin's dictatorship in Russia while being free to treat London as their playground- shopping in Harrods and purchasing mansions, even without fear of reprisal for the Human Rights abuses perpetrated by the regime at home.

"Today the Prime Minister talked tough but announced sanctions against just three individuals and five small banks, all the while there are serious questions to be answered about money the Conservatives have received with potential links to Russia.

"We must demonstrate our seriousness that the costs of war in Europe are in no nations' interest and that the UK will not turn a blind eye to corrupt cash on its shores.”

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