Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announces the UK will freeze the assets of ALL Russian banks within days and unveils ban on exports which could help with Moscow’s war effort as she promises to continue ‘ratcheting up’ sanctions against Vladimir Putin
The Foreign Secretary said the UK will also move to prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in sterling.
She also unveiled a new ban on the export of goods from Britain to Russia in a ‘range of critical sectors’.
This move is designed to prevent Russia securing access to items which could be used in its war effort against Ukraine.
Ms Truss said the export ban will ‘act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come’ as she also vowed to continue ‘ratcheting up’ sanctions in the coming weeks.
Liz Truss today announced the UK will freeze the assets of all Russian banks within days as she set out the Government’s latest sanctions against Vladimir Putin
Ms Truss said an export ban will ‘act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come’ as she also vowed to continue ‘ratcheting up’ sanctions in the coming weeks
The UK and its Western allies unveiled a wave of sanctions against Mr Putin last week.
But there were immediate calls to go even further and the Government has promised to step up its efforts.
Delivering a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon, Ms Truss announced two new sanction areas, with one relating to banks and the other to exports.
She said: ‘Today I can inform the House I will be laying two new pieces of sanctions legislation.
‘The first introduces a set of new powers against Russia’s financial sector.
‘It includes powers to prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in sterling. With over 50 per cent of Russian trade denominated in dollars or sterling, our coordinated action with the United States will damage Russia’s ability to trade with the world.
‘And as soon as this legislation comes into force, we will apply it to Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.
‘I will also be imposing a full asset freeze on three further banks, VEB, Russia’s national development bank, Sovcombank bank, the third largest privately owned financial institution in Russia, and Otkritie, one of Russia’s largest commercial banks.
‘We will bring in a full asset freeze on all Russian banks in days, looking to coordinate with our allies.’
Ms Truss said the second piece of legislation being brought forward by the Government will ‘ban exports to Russia across a range of critical sectors’.
The Government wants to stop Russia from being able to secure high tech equipment from British firms.
Ms Truss said: ‘This includes high end technological equipment such as micro-electronics, marine and navigation equipment.
‘This will blunt Russia’s military industrial capabilities and act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come.
‘I appreciate the consequences of this step for British people and British businesses operating in Russia and the Department of International Trade and the Treasury will offer advice and guidance to affected UK businesses.
‘My consular staff will continue to support British nationals in Russia as well as those in Ukraine.
‘And we will keep ratcheting up our response. More legislation will follow in coming weeks in sanctioning Russian-occupied territories in the Donbas, extending more sanctions to Belarus and limiting Russian deposits in UK banks.
Earlier in the day, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the UK Government will match new sanctions imposed by the US and the EU over the weekend by preventing Russian central banks from accessing cash in the UK.
The move by the UK, the US and the EU means the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR), the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation will struggle to access cash reserves.
It led to the rouble dropping more than 20 per cent against the dollar and could have fallen further if not for the central bank raising interest rates from 9.5 per cent to 20 per cent on Monday.