UK warns of sanctions on Russia if any further action is taken against Ukraine
The United Kingdom is threatening to place sanctions on Russia if the country takes further action against Ukraine, as tensions in the region continue to boil amid Moscow’s massive troop presence near the Ukrainian border.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Sunday said the British government is planning to put forth new laws this week that would expand the range of sanctions it is able to place on Russia and individuals close to the Kremlin in an effort to thwart Moscow’s aggression against Kyiv, according to Reuters.
Truss said the U.K. should have the ability to aim sanctions at “any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia,” according to the news wire. She also said “there would be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs.”
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK has to “de-escalate this and stand up for the right for sovereignty of Ukraine,” noting a war would create more instability, drive up fuel prices and increase migrant flows, according to Reuters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters he is planning to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin “I think we really all need to step back from the brink, and I think Russia needs to step back from the brink,” Reuters reported.
The British government has reportedly sanctioned roughly 180 individuals and 48 entities since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.
It is considering sanctions against six individuals who are believed to be close to Putin, including businessmen Yuri Kovalchuk, Arkady Rotenberg and Nikolai Shamalov, ex-KGB officer Sergei Chemezov, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov, according to Reuters.
The sanctions would freeze assets belonging to the individuals and bar them from entering the U.K., Reuters noted.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the U.K.’s threat of sanctions “very disturbing,” and said they would represent an attack on Russian businesses, according to Reuters. He said such actions would weaken the attractiveness of Britain and ultimately have a negative impact on British organizations.
“It’s not often you see or hear such direct threats to attack business,” Peskov said, according to Reuters.
“An attack by a given country on Russian business implies retaliatory measures, and these measures will be formulated based on our interests if necessary,” he added.
London became a global center for money flowing out of ex-Soviet republics after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, according to Reuters.
The British threat of sanctions comes as the U.S. and other allied countries are becoming increasingly concerned that Russia is planning an incursion against Ukraine. Despite amassing more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, Moscow has denied having any plans to invade Ukraine.
The U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office announced earlier this month that it had obtained information indicating that the Russian government is looking to replace the Ukrainian government with pro-Russian officials. Moscow called the claim “misinformation.”
The U.S. has vowed to impose serious sanctions on Russia if Moscow attacks Ukraine.
The Biden administration earlier this month announced plans to sanction four current and former Ukrainian government officials who were believed to be working to help carry out Russia’s influence efforts in Ukraine.
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