Thursday, February 24, 2022

Britain's response to the Russian invasion of UKraine

I have received the following briefing on the action the UK is taking in response to Putin's aggression against Ukraine.


Responding to an unprovoked and premeditated attack

  • Russia’s appalling assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. Britain have been clear all along that there would be a severe cost for any further Russian military incursion into Ukraine.
  • The Russian Government have repeatedly denied their hostile intent towards Ukraine, while they have been amassing troops, launching cyber-attacks, and staging false pretexts and provocations
  • We are now imposing the largest and most severe package of sanctions that Russia has ever seen alongside our international partners, and coordinating a response with our allies and partners to make sure that Russia cannot further undermine European stability.
  • The Prime Minister has been clear that our support for Ukraine is unwavering. We will continue to support the Ukrainian Government and its people in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Diplomatically, politically, economically – and eventually, militarily – this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.
  • We are making sure President Putin feels the full cost of his actions:
  • We will defend the cause of peace and justice and stand by our Ukrainian friends in their hour of trial. We will use every international forum to condemn Putin’s onslaught and we will counter the Kremlin’s disinformation as we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. We will also work with our allies on the urgent need to protect other European countries that could become targets of Putin’s playbook.  

  • The Prime Minister met virtually with G7 leaders this afternoon, agreeing to work in unity to maximise the price that Putin will pay for his aggression. The Prime Minister urged fellow leaders to work together as one to do everything in their power to isolate Putin politically, economically and militarily, including ending Europe’s collective dependence on Russian oil and gas. Tomorrow the Prime Minister will meet with NATO leaders. 
  • Alongside our allies, we will impose the largest and most severe package of sanctions that Russia has ever seen. In addition to the sanctions we announced earlier this week, these additional sanctions will deal a severe blow to the Russian economy, will hobble Russia’s military-industrial complex, and will personally damage Putin’s inner circle of corrupt oligarchs.
  • We will starve Russia of their access to finance. We will stop the Russian state from being able to borrow in UK markets and issue sovereign debt; block the ability of major Russian banks to operate in sterling around the world with a prohibition on clearing payments in sterling; and we will limit the amount of money Russian nationals can deposit in their UK bank accounts.
  • We will expand measures to prevent key goods and technologies from being exported to Russia. We will no longer approve licences for the export of dual-use goods, with immediate effect, and ban the export of a range of high-end and critical technical equipment and components, with enabling legislation to be laid in March.
  • We will sanction over 100 more individuals and entities, including Russia’s largest bank and major defence sector organisations. We will freeze all their assets in the UK and prevent any UK entities from engaging with these organization and individuals in the UK or overseas, and we will impose a travel ban on individuals. We are imposing an immediate full asset freeze against VTB. Sanctions will also be applied to Belarus for its role in the assault on Ukraine. 
  • We will imminently ban Aeroflot from our skies.
  • We will be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine – on top of the support we have already provided. This new package will include lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons, and non-lethal aid such as body armour and helmets.
  • We will bring forward the full Economic Crime Bill in the next Parliamentary session. We are bringing forward measures on unexplained wealth orders from the Economic Crime Bill to be introduced before the House rises for Easter, and we will set out further detail on the range of policies included in the full Bill in the next session – including reforms to Companies House and a register of overseas property ownership.


Support for Ukraine

Britain has been supporting Ukraine and tackling Russian aggression throughout this period by: 

  • Hitting Russian oligarchs and banks with an initial tranche of targeted sanctions earlier this week, using our economic heft to inflict pain on the Kremlin Regime. We have already targeted oligarchs at the heart of President Putin’s inner circle and banks which have bankrolled the Russian occupation of Crimea in our first wave of sanctions. This came on top of the 275 individuals and entities on whom we had already placed sanctions.
  • Persistently calling on Russia to deescalate, standing firm in our defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty. We have been clear all along that there would be a severe cost for any further Russian military incursion into Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary visited Moscow where she directly called on the Kremlin to engage in meaningful talks.
  • Supplying Ukraine with a new defence support package, increasing their defensive capabilities against threatening behaviour. This defensive support package supplies Ukraine with light, anti-armour weapons for self-defensive use, as well as a small number of UK personnel to provide initial training to Ukrainian military personnel.
  • Providing Ukraine with an additional £100 million in aid to help strengthen their defences and reduce reliance on Russian energy supplies. This new funding helps to reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
  • Committing 1,000 more British troops to be put at readiness to support NATO and allies in the event of a humanitarian crisis. These troops are at readiness in the UK to support a humanitarian response in the region should it be needed. The Prime Minister has called on international partners to demonstrate their solidarity with NATO allies who bear the brunt of Russian aggression.
  • Doubling the size of our deployment to in Estonia and making it clear that we are willing to send more British forces to help protect our allies if NATO makes such a request. We have doubled the number of personnel in Estonia, where the British Army leads NATO’s battlegroup, and we are sending additional equipment, including tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.
  • Leading a campaign of diplomatic engagement alongside our international allies, combining dialogue with deterrence. Over recent months we have led calls from G7, NATO and the OSCE to urge Russia to desist from its reckless and destabilising activities, as well as raising these issues directly with the Kremlin.


Tackling illicit finance

  • Serious criminals and corrupt individuals who seek to threaten the security of UK and allies are not welcome here. 
  • We have taken steps to tackle illicit finance through the landmark Economic Crime Plan in 2019, the Criminal Finances Act 2017, launching the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime, and ending the Tier 1 Investor route. 
  • We will bring forward an Economic Crime Bill that will deliver unprecedented reforms, including reforms to Companies House and a register of overseas property ownership.

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