The UK government has imposed new sanctions on Russian billionaires and businesses, in a move the Foreign Office said was designed to target “key strategic industries and individuals” as the war in Ukraine entered its second month.
Among those hit were six banks, a defence company that produces drones, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s stepdaughter, as well as the Wagner Group mercenaries tasked with assassinating Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
The paramilitary Wagner Group is a private military company employing fighters from civil conflicts around the world, and has been active in Ukraine since 2014 supporting pro-Russian separatist elements in the eastern Donbass region.
Other individuals who had their UK assets frozen included the billionaire oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, who has close links to Roman Abramovich; Herman Gref, the chief executive of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank; and Polina Kovaleva, who is linked to Mr Lavrov and reportedly owns a £4m house in London.
Asked about the move in Brussels, Boris Johnson, who is in the EU country to discuss the war with other Western leaders, told broadcasters:
“We’ve got to step up, we’ve got to increase our support, we’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group,” Independent reports.
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