London: The UK government announced 65 new Russian sanctions on Thursday against a range of key strategic industries and individuals, which it says are aimed at cutting off support for President Vladimir Putin‘s war machine in Ukraine.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the latest set of sanctions, which add to over 1,000 already imposed by the UK, target key industries supporting Russia’s illegal invasion, including Russian Railways and defence company Kronshtadt, the main producer of Russian drones.

The Wagner Group, the organisation of Russian mercenaries reportedly tasked with assassinating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has also been sanctioned.

“We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ahead of an emergency NATO summit in Brussels.

“We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to increase our support,” he said.

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) meeting, he is set to announce a major military support package for Ukraine, including 6,000 missiles, consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons, and 25 million pounds in financial backing for the Ukrainian military.

The UK will also provide an additional 4.1 million pounds for the BBC World Service as part of a cross-government effort to tackle disinformation in Russia and Ukraine, as well as new financial and policing support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into war crimes.

Johnson will also urge G7 allies and partners to double down on economic sanctions against the Kremlin.

These oligarchs, businesses and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price, said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Putin should be under no illusions we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up, she said.

In the latest set of UK sanctions, six more banks are targeted, including Alfa Bank whose co-founders include previously sanctioned oligarchs Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, and the world’s largest diamond producer Alrosa is also sanctioned. Individuals sanctioned in the latest round include the billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, founder of Tinkoff bank Oleg Tinkov, Herman Gref, the CEO of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, and Polina Kovaleva, Foreign Minister Lavrov’s stepdaughter. Galina Danilchenko, who was installed by Russia as the mayor of Melitopol, is also sanctioned the first time an individual has been sanctioned for collaboration with Russian forces currently in Ukraine, the FCDO said.

All those sanctioned will have their assets in the UK frozen which means no UK citizen or company can do business with them, and individuals subject to travel bans are also prohibited from travelling to or from the UK. The latest set of sanctions will bring the total global asset value of the banks the UK has sanctioned since the invasion to 500 billion pounds and the net worth of the oligarchs and family members in excess of 150 billion pounds.

Meanwhile, G7 and European Union (EU) leaders meeting in Brussels are expected to discuss longer-term military, diplomatic and humanitarian support for Ukraine and strengthening measures against Russia.

The UK says it has already provided over 4,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces, including Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons Systems (NLAWs) and Javelin missiles. The UK government is also supplying Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles to help Ukrainians defend themselves against aerial bombings, as well as body armour, helmets and combat boots.

Also read | India, 12 others abstain in UNSC vote on Russia-led draft resolution on Ukraine


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