UK foreign secretary announces widening of sanctions targeting Russia’s oligarchs

31 January 2022, 03:28 PM

British sanctions against Russia may be soon be widened, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told the UK’s Sky News television channel on Jan. 30, as a huge buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border continued.

Current British sanctions against Russia are limited to targeting individuals directly linked to the destabilization or occupation of Ukraine.

Truss, who is visiting Ukraine this week before heading to Moscow next week for talks, told Sky News that Russian oligarchs would have “nowhere to hide” under the proposed toughened sanctions regime, and British weapons and financial aid could be sent to Ukraine if Russia invades.

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She stressed that “the number one priority is deterring (Russian President) Vladimir Putin from taking that action.”

“Any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia would be able to be targeted,” Truss said. “So there would be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs or Russian companies involved in propping up the Russian state. That is what we are looking at doing this week.”

The foreign secretary did not rule out the possibility that the tougher sanctions, expected to be outlined in the UK parliament on Monday, could include the seizure of property in the UK owned by Russian oligarchs.

“Nothing is off the table,” she said.

“We’re not going to go into the details of exactly who and how we would target the sanctions,” the foreign secretary noted, adding that the sanctions bill would hit a much wider variety of targets, possibly referring to Russian-owned real estate in the UK, thus ensuring that nobody would be “immune to those sanctions.”

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking in a new offer to NATO at doubling the number of UK troops deployed in Estonia, to strengthen Europe’s borders, as well as sending jets, warships and military specialists to the region.

Johnson is expected to visit Ukraine in the near future, and to hold crisis talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to persuade the Russian leader to withdraw his troops from close to Ukraine’s borders.

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