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As part of Ukraine sanctions, the UK has frozen £18 billion in Russian assets

The British government has frozen the assets of 120 Russian organisations and over 1,200 individuals.

According to new numbers announced on Thursday, the British government has froze assets worth over £18 billion as part of its sanctions system against Russia.

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the UK government has frozen the assets of 120 Russian entities and more than 1,200 individuals with ties to the Kremlin, including Roman Abramovich, the former owner of Chelsea Football Club, and Alexei Miller, the CEO of energy company Gazprom.

The British sanctions regime is part of a coordinated campaign with its partners to punish Vladimir Putin for the nine-month-long full-scale conflict in Ukraine.

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, stated that the United Kingdom would continue to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable through "maximum economic pressure."

The annual review of the Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation stated that as a result of international action, Russian imports of goods had decreased by 68%, 60% of the country's foreign reserves had been immobilised, and Russia's gross domestic product was expected to decline by as much as 6.2% this year.

The United Kingdom is a member of the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task Force, which was founded in February alongside the United States, France, Germany, and Canada, among other critical partners. According to data released in June, the task force has barred or frozen almost $30 billion worth of Russian assets.

Daniel Beizsley, a research consultant for the anti-corruption organisation Spotlight on Corruption, welcomed the figures with "caution." He added, however, that because the data was not disaggregated, it was not possible to "assess how effectively sanctions are targeting individuals, private companies, and state-owned enterprises, nor is there clarity regarding the scale of Russian central bank assets immobilised in the United Kingdom."

The OFSI, which administers financial sanctions regimes such as those against North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Libya, reported a significant increase in the number of allegations of violations following the introduction of sanctions against Russia linked to the Ukraine crisis. In the six months leading up to August, it received 236 reports of suspected violations, compared to 147 in the 12 months leading up to the end of March.

Given the number of breach notifications and the fact that OFSI has levied only eight fines since its inception in 2016, Beizsley stated that "questions still linger concerning OFSI's enforcement powers and capacities."

In its annual report, the OFSI stated that its workload had "greatly expanded" as a result of Russian people and organisations applying for sanctions exemptions in the form of licences. The regulatory agency has increased its staff from 45 at the beginning of the year to around 100 by the end of the year.



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