What Are The New 'Severe' Sanctions Boris Johnson Has Slapped On Russia?

The prime minister has unveiled ten further measures against Russia after Vladimir Putin's troops invaded Ukraine.
Johnson and Putin
Johnson and Putin
HuffPost UK

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine this morning, sending troops, missiles and bombs across the border.

There has been reports of civilian casualties and families have been trying to flee Kyiv amid the chaos.

President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has been condemned by western allies, with Boris Johnson accusing him of being a “blood-stained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest”.

Johnson has now unveiled ten further punitive measures after he was initially criticised for not going far enough with his first set of sanctions.

In a Commons statement, he vowed the UK would implement “the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen”.

Here, HuffPost UK takes you through what has been announced today and assesses what impact they will have.

What Did Boris Johnson Announce Today?

Here are the 10 new sanctions:

1) An asset freeze on all major Russian banks, including VTB, the country’s second largest bank with assets totalling £154 billion.

2) Legislation to stop Russian companies to raise finance in this country and to ban the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on the UK markets.

3) Sanctions against more than 100 Russian individuals, entities and subsidiaries. They include five wealthy oligarchs with links to the Putin regime.

4) Immediately banning Russian airline Aeroflot from landing planes in the UK.

5) Suspend and prohibit all dual use export licences to Russia on items such as electrical components that could be used in military or civilian computers.

6) Legislation prohibiting a wide range of high-tech exports to Russia.

7) A new law limiting the amount of money Russian nationals can deposit in UK bank accounts.

8) Work with allies to limit Russian access to the Swift international payment system.

9) Extend the full range of sanctions against Russia to Belarus, given its close links with Moscow and the part it played in the invasion of Ukraine.

10) Bring forward measures intended for the Economic Crime Bill to strengthen unexplained wealth orders and take action against kleptocrats that launder funds in the UK.

What Sanctions Were Already In Place?

Johnson announced the UK’s first set of measures against Putin on Tuesday which included sanctioning three wealthy allies of Putin and five Russian banks.

Alongside this, members of Russia’s lower parliamentary chamber, the Duma, and the Federation Council, who voted to recognise the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, also face sanctions.

In addition, the territorial sanctions that were imposed on Crimea in the aftermath of the 2014 war will be extended to Donetsk and Luhansk, so no trade can be undertaken with UK individuals or businesses until they are returned to Ukrainian control.

How Will The New Sanctions Hurt Russia?

The sanctions announced today will hit the pockets of oligarchs, big banks and companies with direct links to the Kremlin.

On the five super-rich oligarchs being targeted, a diplomatic source said: “These are people who have international lifestyles.

“They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what’s being stopped.

“So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major Western European capital in the world. That really bites.”

In Johnson’s words, the aim is to “hobble” the Russian economy and increase the pressure on Putin to end his military action in Ukraine.

Even before the sanctions take effect, Russia’s economy is already feeling the impact of the global condemnation of its invasion.

Some $250 billion has already been wiped from the value of Russia’s top companies – the biggest one day decline on record – while the rouble has plummeted to record lows against dollar.

What Has Been The Political Reaction To The Sanctions?

Unlike the response to the previous sanctions announcement, opposition parties have responded positively to the latest measures, while urging the prime minister to go further if necessary.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “I welcome the set of sanctions outlined by the prime minister today and pledge opposition support for further measures.

“And there are changes we must make here in the UK. For too long our country has been a safe-haven, for the money that Putin and his fellow bandits stole from the Russian people. It must change now.

“Cracking open the shell companies in which the stolen money is hidden will require legislation. Bring it forward immediately prime minister and Labour will support it.”

SNP leader Ian Blackford called for the “complete economic isolation” of Russia.

He said: “Let’s not fall for the Kremlin propaganda that they are prepared to soak up any sanctions. If we act now, if the sanctions are targeted enough, swift enough, severe enough, if we impose nothing less than economic isolation, Putin and his cronies will suffer the consequences of their actions.”

What Might Happen Next?

Western officials believe Putin is determined to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and replace the pro-western president Volodymr Zelensky with a puppet regime.

They fear such an assault would lead to large numbers of civilian casualties and the conflict could lead to clashes with neighbouring countries such as Poland, a Nato member.

Under Article 5 of the Nato constitution, which decrees that an attack on one member is an attack on them all, this would lead to full-scale war between Russia and the west.


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