UK announces new Russia sanctions as G7 summit kicks off

Friday, Jun 14, 2024

LONDON: The UK has announced it will target ships in Vladimir Putin’s shadow fleet with new sanctions to support Ukraine as part of co-ordinated action with G7 partners.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also announced another £242 million in bilateral funding for Ukraine as he meets his counterparts from Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United States at the G7 summit in Puglia.

Mr Sunak was greeted warmly by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday morning with an embrace as they posed for a photo to mark the summit’s start.The 50 new sanctions designations and specifications are the UK’s first sanctions targeting vessels in Mr Putin’s shadow fleet, which Russia uses to circumvent UK and G7 sanctions to trade in Russian oil, Downing Street said.

Suppliers of munitions, machine tools and logistics based in China, Israel, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey that support Russia’s military production are also among those sanctioned, Downing Street said.

The sanctions also take aim at the Moscow Stock Exchange and other institutions at the heart of Russia’s financial system. The US designated the Moscow Stock Exchange on June 12. Mr Sunak said: “The UK will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in its fight for freedom. “Today we are once more ramping up economic pressure through sanctions to bear down on Russia’s ability to fund its war machine. Putin must lose, and cutting off his ability to fund a prolonged conflict is absolutely vital.”

Mr Sunak has also committed to providing £242 million to Ukraine for the country’s immediate humanitarian, energy and stabilisation needs and to lay the foundations for longer term economic and social recovery and reconstruction.

He and other G7 leaders are also seeking to agree on a mechanism that will allow profits stemming from immobilised Russian sovereign assets to be used to support Ukraine. Some 285 billion dollars (£222 billion) worth of immobilised Russian assets are held in G7 jurisdictions.

During the summit, Mr Sunak will also press other leaders to recognise migration challenges “across the route” and to take collective action.Mr Sunak and Ms Meloni have previously found common ground on migration. The Prime Minister travelled to Rome in 2023 to speak at her party’s annual gathering.

Mr Sunak touted his flagship Rwanda scheme – which he says will go ahead with deportations starting in July if his party is re-elected – during a recent trip to Austria. Fifteen EU countries, including Austria, signed a letter last month calling on the European Commission to tighten migration policy and to look at third country schemes.