The British foreign secretary on Monday said Russian oligarchs and President Vladimir Putin’s key supporters will be targeted by UK sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.
Liz Truss said a new legislation, which will be in effect by Feb. 10, would be the “toughest sanction regime against Russia we have ever had.”
She said it would give the UK “the power to sanction a broader range of individuals and businesses.”
Truss said in a statement to lawmakers that her country “can target anyone providing strategic support close to Vladimir Putin.”
“Whether you support Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, or you’re of wider significance to the Kremlin, we will have the power to sanction you,” she said. “Nothing is off the table and there will be nowhere to hide.”
Truss said “this will amount to the toughest sanctions regime against Russia we have had in place yet, and mark the biggest change in our approach since leaving the European Union.”
She urged Russia to de-escalate and its “aggressive campaign of hybrid warfare and engage in meaningful talks,” adding that it would be “the only way forward.”
“That means honouring agreements which Russia signed up to freely, like the 1994 Budapest memorandum on Security Assurances, where it agreed to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
Truss’s update on the new legislation came ahead of a planned phone call between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Putin.
Johnson will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to a Downing Street announcement.
Johnson has said that Putin needs to “step back from the brink.”
He said that “any incursion into Ukraine beyond the territory that Russia has already taken in 2014 would be an absolute disaster for the world, and above all it would be a disaster for Russia.”
But Russia sees the UK’s threat to impose sanctions as “a blatant attack” on businesses.
At a daily briefing in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that only restrictive measures formalized by the UN Security Council can be considered sanctions.
“The British foreign secretary talked about some sanctions. But here, I think, we should call everything by its proper name. Sanctions are something legitimate and something formalized by a decision of the UN Security Council,” he said.
“In this case, we are talking about a blatant attack on business.”
Such statements by UK officials undermine the country’s investment appeal, the spokesman added.
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