UK's proposed 'oligarch' sanctions revealed – media
If Russia invades Ukraine, the UK may impose a series of sanctions against certain individuals and businesses deemed to be of “strategic significance” to the Russian government, including large energy companies, British newspaper The Times claimed on Sunday.
Citing anonymous government sources, the publication suggested that certain Russian individuals could be subject to an asset freeze, confiscations, and an entry ban. The report comes after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Sky News that Russian oligarchs would have “nowhere to hide” under toughened sanctions. Truss is due to visit Moscow within the next two weeks.
“What I’ll be announcing later this week is improved legislation on sanctions so we can target more Russian interests that are of direct relevance to the Kremlin,” she said on Sunday. The foreign minister also rejected suggestions that serious sanctions against Russia would send shockwaves through the British economy, noting that “defending freedom and democracy” is more important than “immediate financial issues.”
London’s tough talk comes as Moscow stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the Russian border, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The latest commitment to harsher measures follows reports that Washington was beginning to grow frustrated with Britain and its lack of action against Russian money pouring into the country. London has long been known as a location to hide foreign capital and is a common destination for disgraced former oligarchs, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
“The fear is that Russian money is so entrenched in London now that the opportunity to use it as leverage against [President Vladimir] Putin could be lost,” an anonymous source in Washington told The Times last week, suggesting that direct sanctions against Russia’s president could be ineffective if Britain continues to tolerate this influx of wealth.
In response to Truss’ threat to confiscate property from “Russian oligarchs” and her acknowledged commitment to fight for “democracy and freedom” in Europe, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova noted that London has a long list of “corrupt people Russia has asked to extradite,” suggesting that Britain’s resolve to battle illegal finance may not be steadfast.