West tightens sanctions against Russia

The US, UK and European Union have tightened sanctions on Russia, including a ban on the export of luxury goods and increased import tariffs.
The British government said that it, alongside G7 allies, had banned the export of luxury goods to Russia as well as denying the country, in conjunction with the World Trade Organisation, access to most favoured nation tariffs.

As a result, a wide range of goods – which the government said were worth £900m – will now face an additional 35% import tariff on top of existing charges.

The goods range from iron, steel, fertilisers and cereals to vodka, furs and works of art, among others. The government said the products had been selected to inflict “maximum damage” on the Russian economy while minimising the impact on the UK.

It was not clear which specific high-end goods will be banned from export. The government said further details would be published “in due course” with the ban due to come in “shortly”. It noted that previous export bans have included high-end fashion, works of art and luxury vehicles, however.

Other measures announced by the European Commission on Tuesday include a ban on new investment in the Russian energy sector, with limited exceptions for civil nuclear energy and an import ban on steel products currently under EU safeguard measures. The EC said the latter amounted to around €3.3bn in lost export revenue for Russia.

The list of sanctioned persons and entities was also extended, to include companies active in military and defence sectors, and EU credit agencies may also no longer rate Russia or Russian companies.

The EC said: “These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine.”

UK trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our international partners in our determination to punish Putin for his barbaric actions in Ukraine.

“The WTO is founded on respect for the rule of law, which Putin has shown he holds in contempt.”

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