Feb 22, 2022 06:55 pm
Hours after Russia ordered troops into two Moscow-backed Ukrainian rebel regions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions against five Russian banks and three billionaires. He called this step as "the first barrage" of measures in response to the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine.
He further described Russia’s recent step as a "a renewed invasion" of its western neighbour and "pretext for a full-scale offensive".
"The UK and our allies will begin to impose the sanctions on Russia that we have already prepared... to sanction Russian individuals and entities of strategic importance to the Kremlin," Johnson told MPs.
The British leader said further sanctions were "at readiness to be deployed" if the Kremlin showed further aggression in what he predicted would be "a protracted crisis".
The five banks targeted -- Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank -- and three people sanctioned will see any UK assets frozen
The individuals concerned -- Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg -- will be banned from travelling to Britain and all UK individuals and entities will be banned from dealing with them and the banks.
"We cannot tell what will happen in the days ahead," Johnson added in the House of Commons, amid cross-party condemnation of Moscow's actions. "But... we should steel ourselves for a protracted crisis."
The sanctions announcement came after Johnson chaired an early morning meeting with security chiefs, after which he vowed to hit Russia "very hard".