Russia tells Britain what will happen if it sanctions 'oligarchs'
Any attempts to seize property from Russian individuals London believes to be “oligarchs” would primarily hurt Britain itself, the head of Russia’s Senate committee for protection of national sovereignty, Andrey Klimov, said on Sunday.
The move would likely heavily damage the UK’s image as a safe place for investments, causing not only Russians, but other wealthy foreign nationals, to transfer their assets elsewhere.
“Technically, the implementation of such ‘sanctions’ is possible, but their legality will be under a very big question and will cause an outflow of capital from Britain, for example, to Hong Kong or Zurich,” Klimov stated.
At the same time, the official noted that the Kremlin has repeatedly warned wealthy Russians about the risks coming with keeping their assets in the West amid ever-deteriorating relations.
“Russia’s President warned the elites about the risks of keeping funds abroad a few years ago,” Klimov went on. “There’s no secret that many of them had invested in ‘Londongrad.’ They have naively trusted the Anglo-Saxon gentlemen,” Klimov noted.
Earlier on Sunday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss floated the idea, to expand the scope of Britain’s anti-Russia sanctions.
“Currently, the economic sanctions are fairly narrowly drawn, so we could only target companies with a direct involvement in destabilising Ukraine,” Truss said in an interview with Sky News.
“What we are looking to do is widen that, so any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia would be able to be targeted, so there will be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs, for Russian companies involved in propping up the Russian state.”
When asked whether the potential changes could allow British authorities to seize property from Russian nationals, Truss said that “nothing is off the table.”
The sanctions talk comes amid soaring tensions between Russia and the West, centered around Ukraine. Over the past few months, Western media and top officials have repeatedly warned of an allegedly imminent “invasion” of Ukraine by Moscow.
Moscow has consistently denied having an intention of attacking Ukraine. No solid proof of such plans have ever emerged, but the movements of Russian troops within the country’s own territory have been painted as preparations for the alleged attack.