UK sanctions 5 Russian banks over Moscow’s recognition of Ukrainian separatist regions

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Britain on Tuesday sanctioned five Russian banks and three individuals in response to Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s separatist regions.

The Russian banks sanctioned are Rossiayaz Bank, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

Gennady Timchenko, Igor Rotenberg, and Boris Rotenberg are the individuals targeted by the sanctions and their assets in the UK will be frozen, Johnson said.

He said this was only the “first tranche” of measures and even more sanctions would be announced in case Russia prefers to go for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

We should steel ourselves for a protracted crisis” the prime minister said.

Johnson said “we must brace ourselves” for the next move by Russia after it “flagrantly violated” the Minsk agreement last night.

“In a single inflammatory speech, he (Russian President Vladimir Putin) denied that Ukraine had any ‘tradition of genuine statehood,’ claimed that it posed a ‘direct threat to the security of Russia,’ and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions,” he said.

The prime minister said: “Soon afterwards, the Kremlin announced that Russian troops would enter the breakaway regions under the guise of ‘peacekeepers,’ and Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers have since been spotted.”

The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.”

And by denying Ukraine’s legitimacy as a state – and presenting its very existence as a mortal threat to Russia – Putin is establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive.

He said: “If the worst happens then a European nation of 44 million men, women, and children would become the target of a full-scale war of aggression waged without a shred of justification for the absurd and even mystical reasons that Putin described last night.

Johnson told the lawmakers that he has “spoken on a number of occasions to President Putin since this crisis began and so has (US) President (Joe) Biden, while (French) President (Emmanuel) Macron and (German) Chancellor (Olaf) Scholz have both visited Moscow.

Johnson said: “We will not give up: we will continue to seek a diplomatic solution until the last possible second, but we have to face the possibility that none of our messages has been heeded and Putin is implacably determined to go further in subjugating and tormenting Ukraine.

And it is because we suspected as much that the UK and our allies repeatedly sounded the alarm about a possible new invasion, and we disclosed much of what we knew about Russia’s military build-up” he added.

Members of Duma, Federation Council to be sanctioned

The government will also implement sanctions against those members of the Russian parliament as well as the Federation Council that voted in support of recognizing the independence of the two Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The UK will also sanction those members of the Russian Duma and Federation Council who voted to recognise the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk in flagrant violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

In addition, over the coming weeks we will extend the territorial sanctions imposed on Crimea to non-government controlled territory in the so-called breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. No UK individual or business will be able to deal with this territory until it is returned to Ukrainian control” the statement added.

The announcement was made by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss following Johnson’s address to parliament. Truss said the sanctions were aimed at curtailing the ability of the Russian government in further threatening the security of Europe by raising funds through the UK and western markets.

Truss issued a warning to Moscow saying should Russia continue to further threaten Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and destabilize European security, further sanctions would target Moscow’s ability to issue sovereign debt on UK markets and so isolate Russia from the global economy.

We are prepared to go much further if Russia does not pull back from the brink. We will curtail the ability of the Russian state and Russian companies to raise funds in our markets, prohibit a range of high tech exports, and further isolate Russian banks from the global economy” Truss said.
These will be surgically targeted sanctions that will hit Russia hard” the foreign secretary added.

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