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In February 2022, the UK and other countries introduced sanctions against Russia in response to its military action against Ukraine, targeting its financial sector and assets held by Russian politicians and oligarchs.

This briefing describes how sanctions are applied by the UK’s fourteen Overseas Territories (OTs). Only ten of these are inhabited, and include the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

For updates on the situation in Ukraine and related geopolitical aspects, visit the Commons Library’s Ukraine crisis page.

The Commons Library briefing, Sanctions against Russia, describes the measures in detail.

Value of Russian assets in the OTs

The value and number of Russian assets in the OTs is unknown, as are those liable to be sanctioned. Some organisations have offered estimates:

Applying sanctions in the OTs

The long-standing policy of the UK Government is for the OTs to apply the same sanctions as the UK.

Two OTs—Bermuda and Gibraltar—pass their own legislation aligned to the UK but for others, Orders in Council implement the UK’s sanctions. Orders in Council are made by the Privy Council, and are mostly statutory instruments.

UK sanctions against Russia, as they existed in 2019, were extended to all the OTs (except Bermuda and Gibraltar) in The Russia (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2020 (as amended).

The sanctions introduced in 2022 have been made as amendments to the 2019 legislation, meaning they are automatically extended to the OTs. They will also be enforced in Gibraltar and Bermuda.

This is a fast-moving situation, and this briefing should be read as correct at time of publication.


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