UK sanctions 386 Russian MPs over Ukraine war
The UK government imposed sanctions on 386 members of Russia’s State Duma on Friday, targeting all lawmakers who voted for recognizing the sovereignty of Ukraine’s breakaway republics, Lugansk and Donetsk. Moscow’s formal recognition of the two republics served as a “pretext” for the subsequent Russian offensive, the Foreign Office said.
“We’re targeting those complicit in Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and those who support this barbaric war. We will not let up the pressure and will continue to tighten the screw on the Russian economy through sanctions,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, announcing the sanctions package.
“Together with our allies, we stand firmly beside our Ukrainian friends. We will continue to support Ukraine with humanitarian aid, defensive weapons, and diplomatic work to isolate Russia internationally.”
The restrictions include travel bans and UK asset freezes for all the affected lawmakers, should they have bank accounts or property under London’s jurisdiction. It brings the number of UK-sanctioned Russian MPs to 400, or almost 90% of the State Duma’s total of 450 seats. The US and the EU have already placed restrictions on other Russian lawmakers, alongside severe sanctions on the country’s financial sector and its senior officials.
The sanctions were imposed in response to Moscow’s military operation against its neighbor launched in late February, which followed a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the two Donbass republics. German- and French-brokered proposals had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.