Russian businesses banned from using UK accountants as new sanctions announced

·3-min read

Russian businesses will be banned from using UK-based accountancy firms, as new sanctions against major media organisations from the country have been announced.

Measures announced by Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, will see Russian businesses cut off from the UK’s accountancy, management consultancy and PR sectors, with an aim to further damage the Russian economy in light of the invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Government, Russia is “heavily reliant” on service companies in Western countries, and cutting off UK services will account for 10% of Russian imports in the sectors affected.

The Government has also announced 63 new sanctions, including travel bans and assets freezes for individuals linked to Russian broadcasters and newspapers, and sanctions against mainstream media organisations.

Ms Truss said: “Doing business with Putin’s regime is morally bankrupt and helps fund a war machine that is causing untold suffering across Ukraine.

“Cutting Russia’s access to British services will put more pressure on the Kremlin and ultimately help ensure Putin fails in Ukraine.”

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, added: “Our professional services exports are extraordinarily valuable to many countries, which is exactly why we’re locking Russia out.

“By restricting Russia’s access to our world-class management consultants, accountants and PR firms, we’re ratcheting up economic pressure on the Kremlin to change course.”

Those sanctioned today include employees of Channel One, a major state-owned outlet in Russia, which had described the invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation”.

The Government has also imposed sanctions on war correspondents embedded with Russian forces in Ukraine, including: Evgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company; Alexander Kots, a war correspondent for Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda; and Dmitry Steshin, a Russian journalist and special correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Organisations including major, state-owned broadcaster, All Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting, will also face sanctions.

Other media companies sanctioned include: InfoRos, a news agency spreading “destabilising disinformation about Ukraine”; SouthFront, a disinformation website; and the Strategic Culture Foundation, an online journal spreading disinformation about the invasion.

New legislation will, meanwhile, require social media companies to take action to block content from two of Russia’s major sources of disinformation, RT and Sputnik.

Culture minister Chris Philp said: “For too long RT and Sputnik have churned out dangerous nonsense dressed up as serious news to justify Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“These outlets have already been booted off the airwaves in Britain and we’ve barred anyone from doing business with them.

“Now we’ve moved to pull the plug on their websites, social media accounts and apps to further stop the spread of their lies.”

Tamzen Isacsson, chief executive of the Management Consultancies Association said that UK firms had “already ceased services to Russia at the outset of hostilities in Ukraine”, adding the country was “not a major foreign market for UK management consultancy services”.

She also said: “Firms have been assisting multinational global clients with making rapid changes to their operations in light of the new rules over the last month and giving them essential advice on how to cease operations in the country.”

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