It is the UK’s fifth package of economic measures to cut key sectors of the Russian economy by PTI.
Britain on Wednesday announced what it described as a “significant increase” in sanctions on Russia, including a total freeze on the assets of the country’s largest bank, Sberbank, and an end to all new British investment in Russia.
It comes as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, declared that reported attacks on civilians by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha do not “look much less like genocide.”
Dozens of people were found dead in the town after Russian troops withdrew, prompting worldwide condemnation, but Moscow denied involvement and described the reports as fake news.
“I’m afraid when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations we’re seeing of what Putin has done in Ukraine don’t seem to me to be very far from genocide,” Johnson told reporters.
“It’s no wonder people are responding the way they are. I have no doubt that the international community, Britain at the forefront, will again move in unison to impose more sanctions and more penalties on Vladimir Putin’s regime,” he said.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) announced sweeping new measures soon after, which it said are being developed in conjunction with global allies, including the European Union (EU) and the US.
“Today, we are stepping up our campaign to end Putin’s terrible war with some of our toughest sanctions yet,” said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
“Our latest wave of measures will end Russian energy imports by the UK and sanction more individuals and companies, decimating Putin’s war machine. Together with our allies, we are showing the Russian elite that they cannot wash their hands of the atrocities committed on Putin’s orders. We will not rest until Ukraine prevails,” he said.
This marks the UK’s fifth package of economic measures aimed at cutting key sectors of the Russian economy and ending the UK’s reliance on Russian energy as part of what the FCDO sees as starving Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war machine.”
The sanctions cover asset freezes against Sberbank and Credit Bank of Moscow. In 2020, UK investment in Russia was worth more than GBP 11 billion, which will now face a total ban.
By the end of 2022, the UK said it will end all reliance on Russian coal and oil, and end gas imports as soon as possible thereafter. From next week, it will also ban the export of catalysts and key oil refining equipment, a move that targets not only the industry’s finances but also its capabilities in general.
As part of the action against key Russian strategic industries and state-owned enterprises, there will now also be a ban on imports of iron and steel products, a key source of revenue. Russia’s military ambitions are also frustrated by new restrictions on its ability to acquire the UK’s world-renowned quantum and advanced materials technologies, the FCDO said.
In addition, eight other oligarchs active in industries Putin uses to “support his war economy” are also on the latest sanctions list.
These include Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor, the largest shareholder in the fertilizer company Acron with vital strategic importance to the Russian government; Andrey Guryev, a known close associate of Putin and founder of PhosAgro, a vital strategic company producing fertilizer; Sergey Kogogin, head of Kamaz, a truck and bus manufacturer, including for the Russian military; and Sergey Sergeyevich Ivanov, chairman of the world’s largest diamond producer, Alrosa, which the UK also sanctioned.
Others are Leonid Mikhelson, founder and CEO of leading Russian natural gas producer Novatek, with a net worth of £18 billion; Andrey Akimov, CEO of Russia’s third-largest bank, Gazprombank; Aleksander Dyukov, CEO of Gazprom Neft, Russia’s third-largest majority state-owned oil producer; and Boris Borisovich Rotenberg, son of the co-owner of Russia’s largest gas pipeline producer, SGM. The Rotenberg family is known for its close ties to Putin and several of them have already been sanctioned.
The latest move comes ahead of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers on Thursday, where the UK will call for more collective action, including an accelerated timeline for all G7 countries to end their dependence on Russian energy.
The UK government said it will also call for continued G7 unity to impose more coordinated sanctions against the Russian economy and the elites around Putin until Russia withdraws its troops and ends its brutal campaign of aggression against Ukraine once and for all.