THE leaders of Ukraine’s breakaway regions, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics are among those who are being targeted by the new UK anti-Russian sanctions.
Individuals sanctioned include Sergei Kozlov and Alexander Ananchenko, from the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has recently pulled troops away from Kiev and shifted most of the focus of its war to eastern Ukraine.
The anti-Russian measures are being co-ordinated with the EU, the Foreign Office said.
Announcing the latest sanctions, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, after the ‘horrific rocket attacks on civilians’ the UK was sanctioning those who ‘prop up the illegal breakaway regions’ and were ‘complicit in atrocities’ against Ukrainians.
She vowed ministers would continue to target all those who ‘aid and abet’ Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
The Foreign Office said since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the UK had sanctioned more than 1,400 individuals and businesses – including more than 100 oligarchs and family members.
The department added that secondary legislation would be also laid in Parliament on Thursday banning the import of Russian steel and iron products and the export of luxury goods.
Meanwhile, Sweden has set its sights on joining NATO. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will apply to join the US-led military bloc in early June.
Helsinki is also eyeing NATO membership. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on April 13th that the issue of joining the Western bloc would be considered in the coming weeks, not months. Earlier, Brussels promised to promptly accept Sweden and Finland into the North Atlantic alliance, if they want it.
Deputy Director of the HSE Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies Dmitry Suslov commented that Russia will consider the territories of these countries as a possible theatre of military operations in the event of a conflict with the US-led military bloc.
At the same time, the expert noted, as long as Sweden and Finland remain neutral, Moscow does not consider their territory a zone of potential conflict.
The end of neutrality would change all that.