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UK hits Russian military with 50 sanctions to mark Ukraine invasion anniversary

UK hits Russian military with 50 sanctions to mark Ukraine invasion anniversary

Russia’s war machine has been slapped with 50 new sanctions by the UK as the second anniversary of the Ukraine invasion approaches.

Announcing the new measures, Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said Britain would continue to back Kyiv “for as long as it takes”.

The Foreign Office said the sanctions would crack down on those supplying Russia’s military with munitions such as rocket launch systems, missiles and explosives.

The sanctions also target key sources of Russian revenue, clamping down on metals, diamonds and the energy trade, in a move designed to cut off funding for President Vladimir Putin’s war efforts from every angle, officials said.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24 2022, with the bloody incursion by the Kremlin due to enter into a third year on Saturday.

The conflict has largely grinded to a stalemate and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly urged the West to provide more weapons or risk emboldening Russia’s forces.

Lord Cameron said continued allied economic pressure would mean Mr Putin “cannot afford this illegal invasion” to continue.

The Foreign Secretary, announcing the extra sanctions in a statement, said: “Ukraine has shown that it can and will defend itself.

“Putin mistakenly thought that because Russia’s economy is bigger than Ukraine’s, he would gain a quick victory.

“But the economies of Ukraine’s friends are 25 times bigger than Russia’s.

“And two years on, we stand united in support for Ukraine.

“Our international economic pressure means Russia cannot afford this illegal invasion.

“Our sanctions are starving Putin of the resources he desperately needs to fund his struggling war.

“Together, we will not let up in the face of tyranny. We will continue to support Ukraine as it fights for democracy – for as long as it takes.”

Among those sanctioned include manufacturers of weapons, such as Sverdlov State Owned Enterprise — a firm the Foreign Office described as the largest enterprise in the Russian ammunition industry.

Russian importers and manufacturers of machine tools, which are instrumental in manufacturing defence systems and components ranging from missiles and engines to tanks and fighter jets, have also been included in Thursday’s package.

Flight operator 224th Flight Unit State Airlines and its director have been targeted following reports it has been involved in the transfer of weapons from North Korea to Russia, as well as supporting Wagner troop movements.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned the West over weapon delivery delays (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/PA)

Foreign firms deemed to be supporting Russia’s war efforts are among those slapped with sanctions.

Three companies based in China have been punished, including Beijing Micropilot Flight Control Systems Company Ltd, after its engines were allegedly found in fighter drones used by Russian forces in Ukraine.

The announcement marks the second wave of UK sanctions against Russia in the space of two days, with the heads of the Arctic penal colony where Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was “detained and killed” hit by restrictive measures on Wednesday.

Former prime minister Lord Cameron is due to visit New York for a special United Nations session dedicated to Ukraine.

While in the US, officials said he is expected to meet Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba to underscore Britain’s “unending” support for Ukraine as the war enters a third year.

On Monday, Mr Zelensky said delays in weapons deliveries from Western allies was opening a door for Russian battlefield advances.

Mr Zelensky and other officials have often expressed frustration at the slowness of promised aid deliveries, especially since signs of war fatigue have emerged.

He said Ukrainian troops keenly felt a shortage of artillery, air defence systems and long-range weapons.

European countries are struggling to find enough stocks to send to Kyiv, and US help worth 60 billion US dollars is stalled over political differences.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka at the weekend, where they had battled a fierce Russian assault for four months despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned.