The imposition of sanctions comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that Moscow has recognised the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK is imposing sanctions on Russian banks and individuals that the British government “has already prepared”.
“Today, the UK is sanctioning the following five Russian banks: Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank, and we’re sanctioning three very high net worth individuals”, Johnson told parliament on Tuesday.
According to him, the individuals include Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg, and Igor Rotenberg, who will will have their assets in the UK frozen, and who will also be banned from travelling to the UK.
He also said that the time has allegedly come to brace for the next possible stages of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan for Ukraine after Moscow’s recognition of independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, DPR and LPR, respectively.
“We must now brace ourselves for the next possible stages of Putin’s plan. The violent subversion of areas of eastern Ukraine by Russian operatives and their hirelings, followed by a general offensive by the nearly 200,000 Russian troops gathered on the frontiers at peak readiness to attack”, Johnson argued.
The UK prime minister, who earlier pledged that Britain’s sanctions will “hit Russia very hard”, also said that “it is absolutely vital that we hold in reserve further powerful sanctions […] in view of what President [Vladimir] Putin may do next”.
“We want to stop Russian companies from being able to raise funds in sterling or indeed in dollars…We want them to stop raising funds on UK markets and we want to strip away the veil that conceals the ownership of property in this country”, he added. Additionally, Johnson urged to avoid “Russophobia” when hammering out the sanctions against Russia, warning not to use restrictions against individuals on the basis of their nationality.
Separately, the prime minister said that he welcomes Germany’s decision to stop the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which was announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier on Tuesday.
Russia’s Recognition of Donbass Republics’ Independence
Johnson’s remarks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that following an appeal from the DPR and the LPR, Moscow is recognising both as independent nations.
Putin underscored that the move should have occurred “long ago”, adding that Kiev should immediately stop the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine otherwise the Ukrainian government would be responsible for any possible bloodshed in Donbass. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified on Tuesday that Russia recognised the DPR and the LPR within the borders in which they proclaimed their independence back in 2014.
The decision came after the situation on the line of contact between Kiev and the DPR and the LPR worsened in recent days as the Ukrainian Army intensified shelling of the territories of the republics, prompting local authorities to initiate a temoporary mass evacuation of women and children to Russia.
The developments unfolded amid Western countries’ speculation of Russia’s “imminent invasion” of Ukraine, with media outlets in the West repeatedly publishing alleged dates of “a Russian attack” on the country. Russia has repeatedly denied having plans to attack any country, including Ukraine, or escalating the situation there. Moscow also stressed that the “invasion” allegations are being used by NATO as a pretext for advancing the alliance’s military presence further eastward in Europe. Moscow warns that NATO’s plans to expand further eastward pose a direct threat to Russia’s national security.