UK warns Russia of sanctions if Ukraine is invaded
LONDON: UK urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday to “step back from the brink” over Ukraine, warning that any incursion would trigger sanctions against companies and people with close links to the Kremlin.
The United States and Britain are trying to signal to Putin that Russia’s richest men, who have huge assets abroad, will face punishment if he orders troops to invade Ukraine, though Moscow has repeatedly denied that it wants a war with its fellow former Soviet neighbour.
The United States and its allies have prepared a list of Russian elites in or near Putin’s inner circle to hit with economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine, a senior administration official said on Monday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the threat of such measures would amount to an attack on Russian businesses that would backfire because it would end up hurting British companies and Western shareholders.
“It’s not often you see or hear such direct threats to attack business,” Peskov said. “An attack by a given country on Russian business implies retaliatory measures, and these measures will be formulated based on our interests if necessary.”
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, London has become the pre-eminent global centre for a vast outflow of money from former Soviet republics.