London: The UK government on Friday sanctioned 386 members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, for their support for the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent in the lead up to the current conflict.
The new sanctions will ban all those listed from travelling to the UK, accessing assets held within the UK and doing business in the country, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.
The latest set of sanctions follows a crackdown on key oligarchs from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
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, said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
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, she said.
The FCDO pointed out that it was the Russian State Duma ratified treaties in February which recognised the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions part of Ukrainian sovereign territory and authorised the permanent presence of Russian military there, acting as a pretext for Russia’s invasion.
Since the Russia-Ukraine crisis unfolded, the UK says it has sanctioned more than 500 of Russia’s most significant and “high-value individuals, entities and subsidiaries”, bringing the total now covered by the UK’s sanctions list to over 800. This includes travel bans and asset freezes applied to 18 of Russia’s leading oligarchs, with a combined worth in excess of GBP 30 billion.
Earlier this week, the FCDO announced new powers to detain Russian aircraft in the UK and remove aircraft belonging to designated individuals and entities from the UK register. Additional measures banned the export of aviation and space-related goods and technology, including technical assistance and prevented UK companies from providing insurance and reinsurance services in relation to these goods and technology.
The new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill, which comes into force from next week, is expected to further crackdown on Russian elites to ramp up pressure on the Putin regime.
Meanwhile, the British government says it is working to speed up its process to take in Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war zone. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated plans to launch an additional route that will allow people to house Ukrainian refugees into their homes.
“If people want to welcome (them) into their own homes, they can do so,” Johnson told Sky News’, with reference to a scheme to be unveiled on Monday.
It follows criticism of the current processing system for visas, which has caused considerable delays for Ukrainians in the UK trying to bring in their close family members over under the special family visa scheme.