British government on Thursday announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, as Moscow's war on Ukraine continues.
“Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has today (Thursday 10 March) announced a full asset freeze and travel ban on seven of Russia’s wealthiest and most influential oligarchs, whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin,” a statement said.
It said the oligarchs, who have a collective net worth of around £15 billion ($19.7 billion), were sanctioned “as part of the UK’s leading efforts to isolate [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” and “they are banned from travelling here and no UK citizen or company may do business with them.”
“Those newly-sanctioned by the UK include Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, worth more than £9 billion; leading industrialist Oleg Deripaska worth £2 billion, and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.”
Another group of Russia-based oligarchs close to Putin have also been placed under sanction, according to the statement.
Andrey Kostin, the chairman of VTB bank; Alexei Miller, the CEO of energy company Gazprom; Nikolai Tokarev, the president of the Russia state-owned pipeline company Transneft and Dmitri Lebedev, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Rossiya are the other Russian oligarchs sanctioned.
“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine,” Prime Minister Boris Jonson said.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people,” he added.
“We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”
“Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.
She said: “With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.
“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.”
Truss added that they “will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.”
The UK has so far sanctioned “more than 200 of Russia’s most significant and high-value individuals, entities and subsidiaries since the invasion, with over 500 of them now covered by the UK’s sanctions list.”
License for Chelsea FC
The government said it has “this morning published a license which authorizes a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea.”
The license “includes permissions for the club to continue playing matches and other football related activity which will in turn protect the Premier League, the wider football pyramid, loyal fans and other clubs.”
“This license will only allow certain explicitly named actions to ensure the designated individual is not able to circumvent UK sanctions. The license will be kept under constant review and we will work closely with the football authorities.”