The UK has announced new sanctions against Russia with the aim to target companies connected to the suspected theft of Ukrainian grain.
The government announced on Friday (19 May) the sanctions will affect 86 individuals and entities connected to Russia's energy, metals, defence, transport and financial sectors with the aim to put pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin's revenue and attempts to use these sectors to support the military machine.
This comes after prime minister Rishi Sunak announced the new import bans on Russian diamonds and metals at the G7 in Japan saying he wants to ensure "Russia pays a price" for the war in Ukraine.
Last year, a Cobra meeting on 22 February 2022 was called to consider the UK’s response to President Vladimir Putin’s actions. The UK has been in close discussions with the EU and the US about placing coordinated sanction packages in an attempt to deter Russia from invading.
What is a sanction?
A sanction is an action undertaken by one country against another in an attempt to stop it from acting aggressively or breaking international law. Sanctions are developed to harm a country’s economy or the finances of individual citizens and can include travel bans and arms embargoes.
What sanctions have been taken against Russia?
Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced a ban on Russian diamonds. The industry is worth $4 billion in exports in 2021, as well as imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminium and nickel. The government has also prepared new individual designations and aims to target an additional 86 people and companies from Putin’s military industrial complex, and those involved in key revenue streams such as energy, metals, and shipping.
They include those supporting the Kremlin to actively undermine the impact of existing sanctions, as the UK continues to work with G7 partners to tackle all forms of sanctions circumvention. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “For the sake of global peace and security, we must show that brutal violence and coercion does not reap rewards. As today’s sanctions announcements demonstrate, the G7 remains unified in the face of the threat from Russia and steadfast in our support for Ukraine.
In 2022, the UK government began to issue sanctions on key Russian figures and businesses. Then prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK will continue to seek diplomatic solutions until the last possible moment and gave Ukraine’s President Zelensky assurances of Britain’s “unwavering support”.
At the G7, he told the BBC: "We believe in democracy, freedom, the rule of law - and it's right that we stand up for those things. I'm hopeful and confident that our partner countries will follow as they have done when we've done this previously. That will make the sanctions more effective, ensure that Russia pays a price for its illegal activity."
In 2022, the UK government began to issue sanctions on key Russian figures and businesses. The former prime minister said the UK will continue to seek diplomatic solutions until the last possible moment and gave Ukraine’s President Zelensky assurances of Britain’s “unwavering support”.
Financial: Johnson announced sanctions against five Russian banks, Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank as well as against three “high net-worth” individuals.
Johnson said: “Now the UK and our allies will begin to impose the sanctions on Russia that we have already prepared using the new and unprecedented powers granted by this House to sanction Russian individuals and entities of strategic importance to the Kremlin. Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen, the individuals concerned will be banned from travelling here and we will prohibit all UK individuals and entities from having any dealings with them." The then prime minister also sent 2,000 anti-tank weapons to help Kyiv in January 2022.
Oil and gas: Western nations such as the UK and Germany have tried to cut Russia's income from oil and gas via the stoppage of importing Russian coal and banning refined oil imports as well as banning all Russian oil and gas imports (UK and USA). Germany have stopped the opening of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.
Targeting individuals: Over 1,000 Russian businesses and individuals have been targeted by the US, EU and UK as well as other countries.