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PM hits five banks & three Putin ‘cronies’ with sanctions

Britain is sanctioning three billionaire allies of Vladimir Putin and five Russian banks, Boris Johnson has announced under a “first barrage” of punitive measures in response to the “renewed invasion” of Ukraine.

The Prime Minister warned on Tuesday that the Kremlin appeared to be “establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive” by sending troops in the Donbas region under the guise of being “peacekeepers”.

Officials said a “much longer list” of oligarchs is being considered for further sanctions after Conservative MPs joined Labour in calling for Mr Johnson to impose stronger measures immediately.

Sanctions are also set to be imposed against Russian politicians who voted to recognise the “independence” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine in what was condemned by western leaders as a major provocation.

Mr Johnson told the Commons that immediate sanctions are being deployed against three “very high net wealth individuals”, Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg, who he described as “cronies” of the Russian president.

The sanctions, which include UK asset freezes, a travel ban and prohibition on British individuals and businesses dealing with them, were also tabled against Russian banks Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

“This the first tranche, the first barrage, of what we are prepared to do, and we hold further sanctions at readiness to be deployed,” Mr Johnson told MPs, before warning it is “inevitable” he will return with a “much bigger package”.

The Prime Minister also applied pressure on European football governing body Uefa not to hold its Champions League final in St Petersburg in June, saying there should be “no chance of holding football tournaments in a Russia that invades sovereign countries”.


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