Five Russian banks and three high-net worth individuals have been sanctioned by the UK after Vladimir Putin sent tanks into rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine.
The five banks are Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank. The individuals are Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch with close ties to Putin, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg.
Any assets they hold in the UK will be frozen, with the individuals banned from travelling to the country. All UK individuals and entities are now prohibited from having any deals with the banks or individuals.
Addressing the House of Commons, prime minister Boris Johnson said the sanctions were “the first tranche, the first barrage, of what we’re prepared to do: we will hold further sanctions at readiness to be deployed…if the situation escalates still further”.
However, the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, called on the government to go further and impose a full set of sanctions, including banning trading in Russian sovereign debt, removing Russia from the Swift financial system and working with European allies to ensure the Nord 2 pipeline is cancelled.
He also said Russian money had “been allowed to influence” UK politics and called for action to tackle the issue.
Johnson said Ukraine had the UK’s “unwavering support”, and that “we will continue to seek a diplomatic solution until the last possible moment”. But he also warned: “We must brace ourselves for the next possible stages of Putin’s plan.”
“If the worst happens then a European nation of 44 million men, women and children will become the target of a full scale war of aggression waged without a shred of justification.”
He concluded that “we should steel ourselves for a protracted crisis” and that “it is precisely because the stakes are so high that Putin’s venture in Ukraine must fail, and must be seen to fail”.