The UK government has joined the European Union (EU) and the United States in announcing new sanctions against the Russian Central Bank in a bid to ramp up pressure against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
The new sanctions are aimed at preventing the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) from deploying foreign reserves to counter the impact of Western sanctions. It will also “undercut” the bank’s ability to engage in forex transactions aimed at supporting the Russian currency rouble, said the UK government.
“These measures demonstrate our determination to apply severe economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
“We are announcing this action in rapid coordination with our U.S. and European allies to move in lock step once more with our international partners, to demonstrate our steadfast resolve in imposing the highest costs on Russia and to cut her off from the international financial system so long as this conflict persists.”
According to the sanctions, UK citizens are banned from engaging in financial transactions with CBR, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, and the Russian National Wealth Fund. Restrictions are also placed against Russian financial institutions.
Russian companies will be prohibited from issuing money market instruments and transferable securities in the UK.
Designated banks will be blocked from accessing Sterling and clearing payments through the United Kingdom. As part of trade restrictions, the UK will ban the export of several high-end and critical tech components and equipment in multiple industries like aerospace, telecommunications, and electronics.
The UK government claims that these sanctions will “devastate Russia’s economy and [target] Vladimir Putin directly and his inner circle including Sergey Lavrov,” Moscow’s minister of foreign affairs.
More than 100 oligarchs and companies “at the heart of Putin’s regime” have been struck with sanctions worth hundreds of billions of pounds as well as travel bans and asset freezes.
The UK has already hit Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB, with asset freezes worth 154 billion pounds ($206 billion). Russia’s defense giant Rostec, which exports $13 billion worth of arms annually, has also been hit with restrictions. Aeroflot, the largest airline of the Russian Federation, as well as other Russian private and commercial jets, have been banned from the UK airspace.
“Working with allies, we will cripple Russia’s economic development in both the short and long term. The UK and our allies are united and clear that nothing and no one is off the table,” the government said.
Moreover, the UK will enforce sanctions on individuals and organizations from Belarus that have lent support to the invasion.
Leaders from Europe, the UK, and the United States had issued a joint statement on Feb. 26, outlining further restrictive economic measures against Russia, which includes removing “selected” Russian banks from the international payment service SWIFT.
The move will make sure that Russian banks are “disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.”