The EU and UK imposed fresh sanctions on Russians and the US took action against 11 of the country’s military leaders as western allies attempted to increase pressure on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
The EU added names including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich to an asset freeze and travel ban list. Alfa Group shareholders German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev are among the individuals placed under sanctions.
Tigran Khudaverdyan, executive director of Yandex, one of Russia’s leading tech companies, is also blacklisted for being one of the businesspeople with close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The UK announced an additional set of sanctions on more than 370 oligarchs, including Mikhail Fridman, co-founder of Alfa-Bank, and Mikhail Mishustin, Russia’s prime minister.
Both the European Commission and British government also targeted Russia’s economic interests. Vodka imports from Russia will face a 35 per cent import tariff in the UK, the British government announced on Tuesday, while the UK has also introduced a ban on exports of luxury goods, which is likely to include items such as vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art.
The UK will also raise tariffs on a number of goods by 35 percentage points. The step comes after G7 nations last week said they would end “most favoured nation” status for Russia.
Ban on transactions
In the EU, the economic measures include a ban on transactions with state-owned Russian companies, except in the oil and gas sector.
An EU import ban on steel products worth €3.3 billion, as well as an EU export ban for luxury goods to Russia, including luxury cars and jewellery, had also been adopted by the bloc, said the commission.
European companies will be banned from most new investments in the Russian energy sector. European credit rating agencies would also be banned from rating Russian companies and the country’s sovereign debt, the commission said.
“These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine,” the commission said, adding that the restrictions had been co-ordinated with allies, notably the US.
Germany’s minister for finance Christian Lindner said the bloc was working on closing any loopholes for oligarchs to circumvent the sanctions regime. “No one who supports Putin is untouchable,” he told reporters in Brussels.
Other individuals targeted by the UK include Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s press secretary, and Alexander Ponomarenko, the chair of Sheremetyevo airport who has a fortune estimated to be worth £2.22bn.
All individuals named by the UK government have already been placed under sanctions by allies such as the EU, Canada and the US.
“We are going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin – from major oligarchs, to his prime minister and the propagandists who peddle his lies and disinformation,” Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
In Washington, the State Department on Tuesday published a list of 11 individuals it said were in the defence sector, including Viktor Zolotov, commander-in-chief of Russia’s national guard, and Alexander Mikheev, the director-general of Rosoboronexport, a state-controlled company trading in weapons.
Defence ministers Aleksey Krivoruchko, Timur Ivanov and Yunus-Bek Evkurov were also among those sanctioned.
Russia hit back with sanctions on US president Joe Biden and secretary of state Antony Blinken. It also acted against Mr Biden’s son Hunter, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, CIA chief William Burns and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, banning them from entry to Russia “on the basis of reciprocity”.
– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022