UK sanctions Russian lawmakers who supported Ukraine breakaways

The blacklisted Duma members will be banned from travelling to or doing business in the UK and accessing assets held there.

Russian lawmakers
Legislators attend the first plenary session of the newly elected state Duma [File: Russia's State Duma/handout/AFP]

The United Kingdom has imposed sanctions on 386 members of Russia’s lower house of parliament who had voted to recognise the independence of Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in the run-up to the full-scale invasion.

Friday’s announcement is the latest in a series of punitive measures taken by the UK and other international allies to increase diplomatic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The government had said on February 22 that it would sanction the members of the Duma, and confirmed the process on Friday.

“We’re targeting those complicit in Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and those who support this barbaric war,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

“We will not let up the pressure and will continue to tighten the screw on the Russian economy through sanctions.”

The listed Duma members will be banned from travelling to the UK, accessing assets held in Britain or doing business there, the Foreign Office said.

Russian lawmakers attend a session during a vote for the pension reform bill at the State Duma in Moscow
Russian legislators attend a session in the lower house of parliament [File: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters]

The European Union has already sanctioned the same group of legislators.

Russia has been pounding Ukraine’s cities while its main attack force north of Kyiv has made only halting progress since the invasion’s early days.

Russia denies that it has attacked Ukraine, but says it is conducting a “special operation” to disarm and “de-Nazify” Ukraine, which it says is going to plan.

On Thursday, the UK imposed sanctions on seven more Russian businesspeople, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, in an attempt to root out Russian assets parked in Britain and increase pressure on Putin and his allies.

The UK has rejected criticism from opposition legislators and campaigners that it has been slower than international allies to impose sanctions, and thus given wealthy Russians time to transfer their assets elsewhere.

But ministers have acknowledged that the existing sanctions regime was too cumbersome, and the government is passing emergency legislation to streamline that process.

Source: News Agencies