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Sanctions aimed at Russia have been in place since 2014, following its annexation of Crimea and ongoing role in the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.

2014 sanctions

Sanctions were imposed in a coordinated move by the EU, which the UK was a Member State of at the time, the US, and other Western allies such as Canada. Sanctions were targeted against individuals and entities (PDF), including freezing assets and travel bans. They also included an arms embargoes and restrictions on other trade, such as exporting technology to Russia needed for oil exploration, and restrictions on lending money to certain Russian companies and banks. The third set of sanctions banned investment in, and trade with, Crimea. The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 ensured that sanctions relating to Russia continued to operate effectively post Brexit.

Under those regulations, 183 individuals and 53 entities were subject to UK financial sanctions. Several other Russian individuals are also subject to sanctions under the UK’s Global Human Rights, Anti-Corruption, Chemical Weapons and Cyber sanctions regimes.

Sanctions in response to the 2022 Ukraine crisis

In the build-up to the current crisis in Ukraine, Western allies warned Russia that any breach of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty would be met with unprecedented economic measures. Following Russia’s recognition of independence of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the deployment of Russian troops under the guise of peacekeeping operations, initial sanctions were introduced by the West.

On 24 February 2022, Russian military forces crossed the border into Ukraine and are currently conducting a full-scale assault on the country. The EU, UK, US, and other allies, have responded with significant coordinated sanctions, targeting Russia’s financial sector, strategic sectors of the economy such as defence and aerospace, and individuals close to the Putin regime.

Further sanctions are expected to be introduced on a rolling basis and the UK has said “nothing is off the table”.  

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