Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Technology

UK targets Russian banks, oligarchs and exports in second sanctions package

LONDON — Britain has issued the largest ever sanctions package against Russia and its ally Belarus, aimed at hobbling their economies following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out Britain’s second tranche of sanctions against Russia in a statement to the House of Commons Thursday in which he pledged the measures will “constrain Russia’s military, industrial and technological capabilities for years to come.”

With immediate effect, the U.K. government has imposed an asset freeze against all major Russian banks, starting with VTB, Russia’s second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. They will be banned from accessing sterling and clearing payments through the U.K., Johnson said. About half of Russia’s trade is in dollars and sterling, he added.

In another blow to the Russian economy, Britain will lay out legislation Tuesday banning all major Russian companies from raising finance on U.K. markets and prohibiting the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on the U.K. markets.

Johnson is pushing for Russia to be blocked from the SWIFT international payments system and raised the issue in a call with G7 leaders, a British government insider said. A Downing Street spokesperson said it was essential that any measures on SWIFT were coordinated by the U.K., U.S. and EU.

The U.K.’s sanctions package will hit more than 100 individuals, entities and their subsidiaries, including two major Russian defense companies: Rostech, with exports worth more than £10 billion of arms alone each year, and the United Aircraft Corporation.

The U.K. named five oligarchs who will be added to the list of Russians banned from entering Britain and prohibited from doing business with U.K. firms: Denis Bortnikov, deputy president and chairman of VTB; Kirill Shamalov, the ex-husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina; Petr Fradkov, chairman and chief executive of Promsvyazbank (sanctioned earlier this week); Elena Georgieva, chair of the board of Novikombank, which bankrolled Rostech; and Yury Slyusar, director of the United Aircraft Corporation.

“These people … come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what’s being stopped,” said a diplomatic official. “So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major Western European capital in the world. That really bites.”

With immediate effect, the government will ban Aeroflot planes from landing in the U.K. and will prohibit all dual-use export licenses to Russia, which allow manufacturers to export parts that could be used for military of civilian purposes. This will cover a wide range of technological components, such as truck parts or computers.

The U.K. will introduce legislation early next week to impose an export ban on a wide range of high-tech components, including semiconductors and spare parts for aircraft and exports used for mining and quarrying. Britain aims to do this in full alignment with the U.S.

Additional legislation will limit the amount of money Russian nationals are able to hold in U.K. bank accounts, but the exact limit is yet to be defined. It is also unclear whether dual Russian-British nationals would be impacted.

The Economic Crime Bill, long-delayed and previously expected to feature in May’s legislative program, will be introduced in the U.K. parliament before it breaks for Easter, Johnson said.

All these measures will be extended to Belarus because of its support for Russia’s invasion which enabled Moscow to attack Ukraine from the north as well as further east.

Alex Wickham contributed reporting.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like

Europe

Having settled in Brussels after three decades reporting about the broader Middle East, Hugh Pope is preparing for publication “The Keys to Democracy,” a...

Europe

Canada has targeted media tycoon Alexander Lebedev as part of a wave of fresh sanctions against Russian oligarchs, in a move that places greater...

Europe

Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese will be the country’s new prime minister, following incumbent Scott Morrison’s failure to win enough seats for the...

Europe

Moldova’s defenses should be bolstered to help guard against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vision for an expanded Russia in Eastern Europe, U.K. Foreign Secretary...

Europe

The G7 member countries agreed Friday to ramp up their capabilities to fight future pandemics. “This pandemic will not be the last. We have...

Europe

Press play to listen to this article The pivotal meeting in the global health calendar starts Sunday with representatives from health ministries around the...

Europe

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa arrived in Kyiv on Saturday morning, where he will sit down with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to talk about...

Europe

Polish officials are preparing a letter asking the European Commission to redraw its current coronavirus vaccine procurement agreements after an informal meeting of health...