The UK and EU have imposed sanctions on 178 Russian separatists in the Donbass region who supported the illegal invasion of Ukraine – vowing to crack down on those who ‘aid and abet’ Vladimir Putin’s war machine .
Boris Johnson’s government has also announced a series of new sanctions targeting family members, associates and employees of Russian oligarchs, including Putin’s own aide.
Britain has joined Brussels in targeting those behind the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, with Liz Truss saying the bombing of a train station in Kramatorsk spurred the West into action .
The Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Following the horrific rocket attacks against civilians in eastern Ukraine, we are today sanctioning those who support the illegal breakaway regions and are complicit in atrocities against the Ukrainian people.”
Ms Truss added: “We will continue to target anyone who aids and abets Putin’s war. We will not rest in our mission to stop Putin’s war machine in its tracks.
The Foreign Secretary also said the latest set of British sanctions would extend the ban on imports of Russian products.
“From tomorrow, we ban the import of Russian iron and steel, as well as the export of quantum technologies and advanced materials that Putin badly needs,” Ms. Truss said.
Russia has refocused its military efforts in recent weeks as Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks, according to Western intelligence, to mount an offensive on the breakaway region of Donbass.
The main figures sanctioned by both the UK and the EU are Alexander Ananchenko and Sergey Kozlov – self-proclaimed prime minister and chairman of the government of the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Among the relatives and associates of oligarchs targeted by the Foreign Office for new British sanctions are Pavel Ezubov – cousin of Oleg Deripaska, and Nigina Zairova, executive assistant of Mikhail Fridman.
Putin’s own aide Andrey Fursenko and Vagit Alekperov, chairman of Russia’s major oil company PJSC Lukoil, are also subject to Britain’s travel ban and asset freeze under the new sanctions package.
Mr Johnson’s government has been criticized for not cracking down quickly enough on individual oligarchs and the flow of Russian “dirty money” linked to the UK.
But the Foreign Office said the UK has now sanctioned more than 1,400 people and companies – including more than 100 oligarchs and family members – since the invasion of Ukraine began.
The government has promised a second economic crime bill in the coming months, after MPs and campaigners claimed the first bill was rushed through with too many “loopholes”, allowing oligarchs to hide their wealth behind trusts and other complex financial vehicles.
Meanwhile, Brussels has been criticized for not acting quickly enough on Russia’s energy dependency.
Despite the EU’s ban on coal from Russia and moves to ban oil, consensus among the 27 EU member countries on ending Russian gas supplies has proven more difficult to obtain.
Although Berlin has agreed to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels by mid-2024, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that it was not possible to quickly cut off his country’s supply of Russian gas. .