The UK will impose its “largest ever” set of economic sanctions on Russia, including pushing to end Russia’s use of the Swift international payment systems, freezing assets of all major Russian banks, limiting cash held by Russian nationals in UK banks and sanctioning more than 100 individuals and entities.
Boris Johnson has urged European leaders to agree that Russia’s use of the major payments system should be suspended, making the argument in a call with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and in a meeting of G7 leaders. The move is likely to be resisted by EU countries.
Announcing a package of sanctions which Johnson had promised would “hobble” Russia’s economy, the PM said legislation would be laid on Tuesday to ban major Russian companies from raising finance on UK markets and to prevent Russia raising sovereign debt on UK markets.
The sanctions include more key oligarchs who will have assets frozen, though sources said that more names – including what they said would be more recognisable figures – would be released in the coming weeks.
The prime minister announced 10 measures the UK was taking immediately. The UK will freeze assets of all major Russian banks including VTB, the country’s second largest bank with assets totalling £154bn.
Individual sanctions will be imposed on over 100 individuals, entities and subsidiaries, including Rostec, the country’s biggest defence company, which exports £10bn in arms a year, as well as four other defence companies.
Oligarchs who will be sanctioned include Putin’s former son-in-law Kirill Shamalov, Russia’s youngest billionaire; Denis Bortnikov, the chair of VTB Bank management board; and Yury Slyusar, the director of the United Aircraft Corporation. The Russian airline Aeroflot will be banned from landing in the UK.
A diplomatic source said: “These are people who have international lifestyles. They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to…