UK slaps more sanctions on Russian, Belarus entities

AFP , Thursday 24 Mar 2022

Britain slapped sanctions Thursday on 59 more Russian individuals and entities, as well as six Belarusian enterprises over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, targeting a shadowy mercenary firm and the world's largest diamond producer.

Russian banks targeted for more sanctions, Gazprombank in Moscow.

The latest measures, against a range of key strategic industries and people, takes to more than 1,000 the number of Russian and Belarusian individuals and businesses sanctioned by London in recent weeks.

Those now include the billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, the founder of Tinkoff bank Oleg Tinkov, Sberbank chief executive Herman Gref, and Polina Kovaleva, said to be the stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Galina Danilchenko, installed by Moscow as mayor of the Ukrainian city Melitopol, became the first person sanctioned by London for collaboration with Russian forces currently in Ukraine.

Britain also targeted six more banks, Russian Railways, the defence company Kronshtadt -- the main producer of Russian drones -- and diamond giant Alrosa, according to the foreign ministry.

The Wagner Group, an organisation of Russian mercenaries which has been active in the Kremlin's other recent conflict zones and has reportedly been tasked with assassinating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was also sanctioned.

"These oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement announcing the new package of penalties.

"Putin should be under no illusions -- we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine," she added.

All those sanctioned will see their British assets frozen, meaning no UK citizen or company can do business with them, while individuals are subject to travel bans prohibiting them from travelling to or from Britain.

The latest measures will bring the total global asset value of the banks the UK has sanctioned since the invasion to £500 billion ($660 billion, 600 billion euros), the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said.

The net worth of oligarchs and family members targeted totals more than £150 billion, it added.

The announcement comes as Western leaders gather for emergency NATO and G7 summits in Brussels, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson will commit to a new military aid package to help Ukraine's fight against Russian forces.

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