May 26, 2022

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U.K. announces extensive sanctions against Russia amid Ukraine invasion

U.K. announces extensive sanctions against Russia amid Ukraine invasion

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unleashed Britain’s “largest set of sanctions ever imposed anywhere by the U.K. government” against Russia on Thursday. Speaking in the British Parliament, Johnson announced sanctions on more than 100 Russian businesses and individuals — including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former son-in-law.

“Overall we will be imposing asset freezes on more than 100 new entities and individuals on top of the hundreds that we’ve already announced,” the prime minister told lawmakers on Thursday evening. “This includes all the major manufacturers that support Putin’s war machine. Furthermore, we are also banning Aeroflot from the U.K.”

Johnson confirmed that those who are particularly close to the Kremlin would be sanctioned, including Russia’s youngest billionaire and former son-in-law Kirill Shamalov, as well as the chairman and CEO of PSB bank Petr Fradkov. Also included in the sanctions were plans to introduce legislation that would limit the amount of deposits Russian nationals could hold in British bank accounts.

Johnson went on to say that Britain would be committed to working with the G-7 and NATO allies to shut off the country’s access to the SWIFT payment system. These measures are due to come into force as early as next week. On Thursday morning, Ukraine’s government announced that it was facing a “full-scale attack from multiple directions.” Bombs and missiles reportedly began bombarding Ukraine at dawn, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address his plans to launch a “special military operation.”

Just before Johnson’s afternoon address, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that members of the alliance had no plans to send troops into Ukraine, but added that an attack against any NATO country by Russia would be seen as an attack on them all.

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Speaking in a rare address to the nation on Thursday afternoon, Johnson said: “Our worst fears have now come true and all our warnings have proved tragically accurate. President Putin of Russia has unleashed war in our European continent.” The British prime minister said the “Russian dictator” had “attacked a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse.”

He said that Russia must not be allowed to succeed and that “diplomatically, politically, economically and, eventually, militarily, this hideous and barbaric adventure of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.” Stating that Ukraine had been a free country for decades and had been able to determine its own destiny, Johnson said, “We and the world cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out. We cannot and will not just look away.”

The U.K. leader also made a direct appeal to the Russian people, saying, “I cannot believe this is being done in your name or that you really want the pariah status it will bring to the Putin regime.”

On Tuesday, Britain imposed sanctions on three Russian oligarchs and five banks — all linked to the Kremlin. Politicians in Russia who had voted for Putin’s declaration of independence for two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine were also targeted. Johnson said Tuesday that this was only the first tranche of sanctions and that they would increase if Russia’s aggression toward its neighbor continues.