UK Sanctions Against Russia Surpass £18 Billion

Published: 15 November 2022

Ukraine Army Defensse MinistryThe U.K. government reports that over £18 billion in assets have now been sanctioned against Russia in response to the Kremlin’s ongoing, illegal war against Ukraine. (Photo: Вадим Ковальов/Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Flickr, License)

By Henry Pope

According to the latest tabulations, the U.K. has now frozen over £18 billion (US$21.2 billion) in assets belonging to Russian businesses and oligarchs in response to the Kremlin’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

The £18.39 billion ($21.6 billion) that encompasses all U.K. sanctions against Russia is roughly £6 billion ($7.06 billion) higher than the total figure levied against any other U.K-targeted regime, according to the latest annual report by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

“When Putin invaded Ukraine he assumed we would sit idly by. He was wrong.” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s Minister of State. “Instead, the U.K. and our international partners have stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in their fight for territorial integrity and political independence.”

Roughly 1,400 Russian individuals and entities have now had their bottom lines impacted by the U.K. alone since the outbreak of the invasion back in February.

The goal of these sanctions is to degrade Russia’s military machine to the point that it simply becomes too much of a burden to continue its illegal campaign against Ukraine, a U.K. government statement read.

Past reports have shown promise in this endeavor. At certain points since the invasion, Russia’s ruble has fallen by more than 40 percent and its stock market has depreciated by roughly $250 billion in value.

“All this is having a major impact on the Russian military complex,” the U.K. government statement said. “Vital semiconductors are now being scavenged from fridges and soviet-era equipment is being sent to the front line.”

Back in May, London targeted Russia’s export of key metals, such as palladium and platinum, with the intent of poking holes in the bottom of Putin’s war chest. This came a month after the G7 announced a collective ban on all future Russian gold imports.

Because of the sanctions levied by the international community, 60 % of Russia’s foreign reserves have been immobilized, its exports have plummeted, and its imports of critical goods have fallen by 68 %.

Altogether, the U.K. predicts that Russia’s GDP will decline by up to 6.2 percent this year, when compared to pre–invasion forecasts, and fall by an additional 2.3 percent next year, according to the OFSI report.

“We will continue to ramp up our sanctions to exert maximum economic pressure on the Russian regime until Ukraine prevails,” Trevelyan said.

The U.K. government has also granted Russia’s oligarchs no quarter in a campaign upend the lives of luxury amongst Putin’s wealthiest elites. From their superyachts to their apartments, one by one the U.K. has frozen their assets and forced the Russian president to put up with their collective displeasure, in addition to the headaches he must face from his failing war.

Former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, for instance, had $7 billion in assets sanctioned by the Jersey government back in April, in a move that froze the vast majority of his total reported wealth, according to the OCCRP Russian Asset Tracker.

Staff at OFSI has doubled since the start of the year; going forward, its focus will predominantly be on levying additional sanctions against Russia.

These tactics, the bureau said, will continue to play a major role in punishing those who have profited off of the Kremlin “for as long as Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine continues.”

“Our message is clear,” Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith said, “we will not allow Putin to succeed in this brutal war.”