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Britain warns Russia of sanctions on oligarchs if Ukraine is invaded

Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the threat of such measures, echoing moves
outlined by a senior US official following a Russian troop buildup near
Ukraine, would amount to an attack on Russian businesses.

Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the British warning “very disturbing”,
and said such statements undermined Britain’s investment attractiveness and
would backfire by hurting British companies.

“It’s
not often you see or hear such direct threats to attack business,” Peskov
said. “An attack by a given country on Russian business implies
retaliatory measures, and these measures will be formulated based on our
interests if necessary.”

Since the
fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, London has become the pre-eminent global
centre for a vast outflow of money from former Soviet republics.

Opponents of
Putin have repeatedly called on the West to get tough How Western economic
sanctions might target Russia on Russian money, though oligarchs and Russian
officials continue to flaunt their wealth at Europe’s most luxurious
destinations.

British
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to travel to Ukraine and will also speak to
Putin by telephone.

“What I
will say to President Putin, as I’ve said before, is that I think we really all
need to step back from the brink, and I think Russia needs to step back from
the brink,” Johnson told reporters.

LIST OF
RUSSIAN ELITES

The United
States, the European Union and Britain have warned Putin of tough sanctions if
Russia attacks Ukraine after gathering tens of thousands of troops near the
border.

A senior
Biden administration official said Washington and its allies have prepared a
list of Russian elites in or near Putin’s inner circle for hitting with
economic sanctions.

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“The
individuals we have identified are in or near the inner circles of the Kremlin
and play a role in government decision making or are at a minimum complicit in
the Kremlin’s destabilizing behavior,” the official said in Washington,
speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United
States has developed specific sanctions packages for both Russian elites who
meet the criteria and their family members, and these efforts are being pursued
in coordination with US allies and partners, the official said.

Russia
denies planning to attack Ukraine and is demanding security guarantees
including a promise by NATO never to let Kyiv join the alliance.

The British
government will introduce new legislation this week to broaden the scope of
sanctions it can apply to Russia to try to deter aggression towards Ukraine,
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Sunday.

She said
London should be able to target “any company of interest to the Kremlin
and the regime in Russia” and that “there would be nowhere to hide
for Putin’s oligarchs”.

Visiting
Hungary, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was important to defuse
the crisis as a war would lead to greater instability, higher fuel prices and
migrant flows.

Wallace
expressed support for a planned trip to Russia on Tuesday by Hungarian Prime
Minister Viktor Orban for talks with Putin, adding: “We need to
de-escalate this and stand up for the right for sovereignty of Ukraine.”

Britain has
imposed sanctions on about 180 people and 48 entities since Russia annexed
Crimea form Ukraine in 2014.

On the
sanctions list are six people Britain says are close to Putin: businessmen Yuri
Kovalchuk, Arkady Rotenberg and Nikolai Shamalov, former KGB officer Sergei
Chemezov, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Federal
Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov.

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The
sanctions allow Britain to freeze individual assets and ban individual from
entering the United Kingdom.

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