Britain freezes assets worth $20 billion of seven Russian oligarchs for their ties with Putin

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

Britain has frozen the assets of seven Russian oligarchs. Among them are the owner of the London football team “Chelsea” Roman Abramovich and the chief executives of Rosneft and Gazprom, Igor Sechin and Alexei Miller, the British government announced today. 

The seven Russians have been sanctioned for their ties to President Vladimir Putin, the statement said. 

The UK estimates their assets at a total of £ 15 billion (nearly $ 20 billion). 

“There can be no safe havens for those who support Putin’s vicious attack on Ukraine,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He described the sanctions imposed today as another measure reflecting Britain’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. 

“We will be relentless in our pursuit of those who allow the killing of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and the illegal occupation of sovereign allies,” he added.

“Today’s sanctions once again show that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close ties with Putin, they are complicit in his aggression,” said British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

 The British government has announced new sanctions amid growing calls from lawmakers to take action against Roman Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs. 

Britain has been criticized for not reacting quickly enough, especially compared to the European Union and the United States. 

In addition to Abramovich, Sechin and Miller, the other four sanctioned Russians are businessman Oleg Deripaska, Transneft chief Nikolai Tokarev and bankers Dmitry Lebedev and Andrei Kostin. 

Details of British sanctions against Russian oligarchs

The seven oligarchs will be banned from travelling to the UK, and British citizens and companies will not be able to conduct business with them. 

The sanctions that were introduced today will also affect the English football club Chelsea, which was owned by Roman Abramovich. The government has published a license that will allow a number of sporting events to be held at the club.

Russian position on oligarchs

Kremlin, in the past, has taken the position that it is not aware of the existence of any Russian oligarchs. In 2020, President Vladimir Putin said that the oligarchs of the 90s could influence the adoption of government decisions, and modern big businessmen “do not even get into politics.”

Britain’s previous sanctions

For the Russian recognition of DPR and LPR, Britain has already imposed sanctions against a number of Russian banks, as well as against businessmen Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg. 

Then London imposed sanctions in connection with a special operation in the Donbas against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and heads of a number of companies. Also on the sanctions list were Rostec, Tactical Missiles Corporation, Uralvagonzavod, KLA and USC. 

In addition, the British authorities decided to freeze VTB assets completely, stop Russian companies from borrowing in the UK market, ban the export of a number of high-tech and critical technical equipment and components, ban Russian aircraft from and to Russia, and set a limit on banking accounts of Russians at the level of 50 thousand pounds (66.8 thousand dollars). Also under the sanctions were Sberbank, VEB, Otkritie and Sovcombank.

Weapons supply

Britain is currently the loudest proponent of providing military assistance to Ukraine. After supplying N-LAW anti tank missiles, Britain plans to transfer Starstreak man-portable air defense systems to Ukraine. 

Britain will arm Ukraine with Starstreak MANPADS, said Minister of Defense Ben Wallace. According to him, the option of gratuitous transfer of anti-aircraft systems is being considered, while he stressed that these are “systems of a defensive nature.”

The Starstreak man-portable air defense system was adopted by the British Army in 1997. The system has three versions: a portable air defense system (SL), a man-portable air defense system based on a light multi-shot launcher (LML) and a self-propelled version on the armoured chassis “Stormer” (SP). 

The system consists of 4 Mach capable Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) with a warhead of three “darts” 0.45 meters long, 20 mm in diameter, weighing 900 grams, of which 450 grams each is PBX-98 plastic explosive. Each of the darts has its own laser beam control and guidance circuit, an armour piercing core, an explosive charge and a thermopile.

The Starstreak MANPADS can hit targets between 300 to 7000 m. It can hit targets up to 5000 m high. The length of the rocket is 1369 mm, the launch weight of the rocket is 14 kg. 


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