UK announces largest ever package of sanctions against Russia

Boris Johnson branded Vladimir Putin a “blood-stained aggressor” as he announced the Government’s largest ever package of economic sanctions against Russia.

Oligarchs, tech exports and sovereign debt is being targeted in a ten point plan to put pressure on the Russian president after the invasion of Ukraine.

All major Russian banks will face an immediate asset freeze and more than 100 businesses and wealthy individuals, including Russia’s youngest billionaire Kirill Shamalov and Manchester United sponsor Aeroflot, will face penalties in the crackdown.

The move follows Mr Johnson’s measures against three oligarchs and five Russian banks, announced on Tuesday, which were branded not tough enough by Conservative MPs for failing to hit the Putin’s power base hard enough.

On Thursday the Prime Minister announced a raft of further sanctions and said the UK would go further to financially cripple Kremlin allies in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Addressing MPs in the Commons he branded Putin a “blood-stained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest” for his invasion on the Ukraine.

“Putin will stand condemned in the eyes of the world and of history,” he added. “He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands.

“Although the UK and our allies tried every avenue for diplomacy until the final hour, I am driven to conclude that Putin was always determined to attack his neighbour, no matter what we did.”

The full list of sanctions he announced are:

* An immediate asset freeze against all major Russian banks, including VTB which is the second largest bank in Russia with assets totaling £154 billion

* New legislation that will prohibit major Russian companies from raising finance on the UK markets and also to prohibit the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on the UK markets

*Individual sanctions on over 100 individuals and companies, including defense and high-tech industries company Rostec and oligarchs -Kirill Shamalov, who was formerly married to Putin’s daughter, head of sanctioned Promsvyazbank Pyotr Fradkov, deputy president of VTB bank Denis Bortnikov, director of United Aircraft Corporation Yury Slyusar and the chair of the board of Novikombank, which bankrolls Rostec Elena Georgieva.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich avoided sanctions, but the Foreign Office said it will be imposing further measures on other oligarchs in the coming weeks

* Limiting the amount of money wealthy Russian nationals can deposit in UK bank accounts

* Extending sanctions to Belarus as a Russian ally

* Suspending export licenses on certain goods and services to Russia

* Banning Russia's largest airline, Aeroflot, from landing in the UK

* Prohibiting a wide range of tech exports to Russia

* Working with allies to shut off Russia's access to the SWIFT payment system used by banks

* Fast-track plans to clamp down on Russian money laundering in London by bringing forward the Economic Crime Bill

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Government needed to “crack open” the shell companies that Putin’s “bandit” friends use to hide stolen money in the UK.

After giving his backing to the new measures and sanctions, Sir Keir called for further aid, including humanitarian support for Ukraine.

He added: “There are changes we must make here in the UK. For too long our country has been a safe haven for the money that Putin and his fellow bandits stole from the Russian people. It must now change.

“Cracking open the shell companies in which stolen money is hidden will require legislation - bring it forward immediately Prime Minister and Labour will support it, along with the other measures that the Prime Minister has just outlined.”

Earlier on Thursday the Mr Johnson said the world could not allow the freedom of the Ukraine to be “snuffed out” and vowed political leaders “will not just look away” in an address to the nation.

A “vast” invasion is underway by land, sea and air which will inflict a “tidal wave of violence,” Mr Johnson warned.

The Russian president started a full scale war on Ukraine on Thursday morning, launching missile attacks across the country resulting in the death of at least 40 soldiers, and a number of civilians.

Russian troops began attacking Ukraine at about 5am local time on multiple axis from Belarus in the north, Russia in the east and annexed Crimea in the south, according to Ukrainian border guards.

Within hours, a boy was killed in the Kharkiv region after shelling struck an apartment building, a man is believed to have been killed in an airstrike outside of the city of Kharkiv and a cyclist was hit by an attack in Uman, Cherkassy region, central Ukraine.