Truss: All major Russian businesses at risk of heavy UK sanctions if Putin invades Ukraine
The UK will not hesitate to freeze the assets of any major Russian business or any oligarch linked to the Kremlin if Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, Liz Truss today announced.
The foreign secretary said any Russian business that has “economic or strategic significance” to Russia could be shut out of operating in Britain and that their owners will face a tough series of sanctions as a part of new legislation.
This includes having their assets frozen, being banned from doing business in the UK and being banned from entering the country.
It comes as Boris Johnson will tomorrow travel to Ukraine to discuss the unfolding crisis with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Those in and around the Kremlin will have nowhere to hide. We will make sure those who share responsibility for the Kremlin’s aggressive and destabilising action will share in bearing a heavy cost,” Truss said.
“I will not say now exactly who we may target or with what measure. Moscow should be clear that we will use these new powers to maximum effect if they pursue their aggressive intent toward Ukraine. Nothing is off the table.”
There is widespread evidence that much of Putin’s wealth is held in the name of the oligarchs that the new legislation seeks to target.
Bill Browder, fund manager and prominent Russia critic, said “the cleanest, safest and simplest way of deterring Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine is to go after his money”.
“We know who these oligarchs are who hold Putin’s assets, we know that they are held in London … the easy way of doing things for us in a very asymmetric way as far as Putin is concerned is to freeze the money of a certain number of oligarchs,” he told Sky News.
Johnson was forced to cancel a phone call with Putin today, after the release of the Sue Gray report.
He will still travel to Ukraine to show support for its government, and will host a press conference with Zelensky.
Speaking on a visit to Essex yesterday, the Prime Minister said: ”I think that an invasion of Ukraine … would be an absolute disaster for the world, and above all it would be a disaster for Russia.”