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Britain to stop its PR and accountancy firms doing business with Russia

LONDON — Britain will stop Russian firms from making use of U.K.-based accountancy, management consultancy, and PR services, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced Wednesday.

Under the plan, British services companies in those sectors will be barred from exporting to Russian outfits, many of whom make use of those services to aid their own exporting operations.

“Cutting Russia’s access to British services will put more pressure on the Kremlin and ultimately help ensure Putin fails in Ukraine,” Truss said. Doing business with Putin’s regime is, she added, “morally bankrupt.”

These services firms make up 10 percent of Russian imports from the U.K.’s services sector, according to the British government. Last year U.K. services exports to Russia totaled £1.7 billion, accounting for some 37 percent of total trade between the two countries. Business services made up £476 million of those exports.

“Our professional services exports are extraordinarily valuable to many countries, which is exactly why we’re locking Russia out,” said Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

A swathe of big British PR firms have already shuttered their Russian operations. Several other U.K. business services firms such as Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC have already moved to exit Russia in anticipation of sanctions.

Truss also announced 63 new sanctions to hamper Russian propaganda outlets RT and Sputnik and force social media, internet services and app stores to block their content.

Individuals linked to Russian state-owned outlet Channel One, including war correspondents the U.K. has identified embedded with Russian forces in Ukraine, also face sanctions, including Evgeny Poddubny, Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin.

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