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UK Toughens Russia Sanctions And Pledges More Until "Every Single" Troop Leaves Ukraine

The Foreign Secretary has announced further sanctions against Putin's regime

3 min read

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has toughened sanctions on Russia further after Putin claimed economic measures amounted to "total war".

The latest ratcheting up of measures came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the west should continue to introduce sanctions until "every single" Russian troop had left Ukraine.

Truss said the latest sanctions would block sanctioned oligarchs from accessing UK aviation and maritime industries and engineers meaning they will be blocked from accessing technical assistance or repairs to aircraft and ships.

The Foreign Office said the new powers had already been used to sanction Russian businessmen Eugene Shvidler and Oleg Tinkov.

Sanctions already in place which relate to Crimea are also being extended to include non-government controlled areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Truss said there was "no doubt" the strength of the sanctions package had taken "Putin and his elite" by surprise.

"We will continue to ramp up the pressure so long as Russian troops are in Ukraine, targeting not only the businesses of oligarchs but also their assets and international lifestyles," she said.

"Tough sanctions will help Ukraine get the best possible peace settlement and ultimately ensure Putin’s invasion fails. That is our focus."

More than 1,000 Russian individuals and businesses have now been sanctioned by the UK in the last month, with foreign office officials saying this includes around £500bn worth of global assets held by Russian financial insitutions.

Earlier this week, the UK detained a 58.5 metre superyacht in Canary Wharf as part of the sanction response.

The vessel, worth around £38 million, belongs to an unnamed Russian businessperson and is the first vessel to be seized in the UK's waters since the measures were introduced last month.

Russia has derided the sanctions implemented by Western countries, with Putin's chief spokesperson describing the measures earlier this week as being akin to "total war" against Russia.Russia has announced that it was planning to scale back some of its military operations around Kyiv, claiming the move was aimed at improving the chances of negotiating an end to the war with Ukraine.

But the move has been met with caution as intelligence and security officials said the retreat could be part of a co-ordinated plan to regroup before launching a fresh assault after Putin's force suffered significant losses.

Speaking to MPs on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained firm on the sanctions regime, saying to consider lifting them in response to Russia's actions would play into "Putin's playbook".

"I certainly don't think you could expect the G7 to lift sanctions simply because there had been a ceasefire in Ukraine," he said.

"That goes straight into Putin's playbook. In my view we need to intensify sanctions until every single one of his troops is out of Ukraine."

Earlier this week, Truss said that sanctions would only be lifted in the event of a "full ceasefire and withdrawal" of Russian forces, adding there would also need to be "commitments that there will be no further aggression".

"There's the opportunity to have snapback sanctions if there is further aggression in future," she said. "That is a real lever that I think can be used."

Speaking ahead of the announcement, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy urged the government to take tougher steps to crackdown on "dirty Russian money" in the UK.

"The loot of Putin's dictatorship, was embraced. From our football clubs to our politics, oligarchs and kleptocrats used Britain's capital as both the hiding place and service industry for their ill-gotten gains," he said. 

"A spider's web of dirty money that spread across London. Fuelling crime on our streets. Making property affordable. Laundering reputations. Silencing critics, and sustaining Putin's authoritarian regime."

He added: "This disregard for the contradictions in our policy has been exposed by this crisis. We must end the hypocrisy."

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