U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation during a press conference on a plan for “Living with Covid” on February 21, 2022 in London, England.
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The U.K. has slapped targeted economic sanctions against five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into eastern Ukraine.
Addressing lawmakers on Tuesday in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the first tranche of sanctions would target Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.
The measures would also sanction three “very high net worth” individuals: Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg.
The individuals concerned will see their U.K. assets frozen and be banned from traveling to the country, Johnson said. All U.K. individuals and entities will also be barred from having dealings with them, he added.
Johnson said the move to sanction Russia had arisen despite himself and several other world leaders giving Putin “every opportunity” to pursue his aims via diplomacy.
“We will not give up,” Johnson said. “We will continue to seek a diplomatic solution until the last possible moment but we have to face the possibility that none of our messages have been heeded and that Putin is implacably determined to go further in subjugating and tormenting Ukraine.”
He added: “This the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do and we hold further sanctions at readiness to be deployed alongside the United States and the European Union if the situation escalates still further.”
Johnson said Putin had “flagrantly violated” international law by formally recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states. The Russian president on Monday ordered troops to the breakaway areas to “perform peacekeeping functions.”
The directive drew condemnation from around the world, with policymakers admonishing a “blatant” and “unacceptable” violation of international law.
The developing situation has ratcheted up fears of a major conflict in Europe following months of simmering tensions over Russia’s military deployment on the borders of Ukraine.