UK sanctions Russians Usmanov and Shuvalov
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – The UK sanctions two more Russians on Thursday – industrialist Alisher Usmanov and former deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov – after criticism that it was taking too long to target people with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Usmanov – an Uzbekistan-born metals and telecoms tycoon who Britain said was worth $18.4 billion – is best known in Britain for his investment in and former sponsorship of Premier League football clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Shuvalov is a former aide to Putin who now chairs Russian bank VEB, itself under Western sanctions. As deputy prime minister he led Russia’s successful bid to host the 2018 soccer World Cup.
“For as long as Putin continues his barbaric attack on innocent Ukrainians we will continue to exert every power we have to inflict maximum economic pain on Putin and his war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a ‘special operation’ that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists – a pretext dismissed by Ukraine and the West as baseless propaganda.
Since Russia launched the invasion on Feb. 24, Britain has imposed sanctions on 11 wealthy Russians plus Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as four Belarusian military officials.
Usmanov and Shuvalov have had their British assets frozen, face travel bans, and British citizens and businesses are barred from dealing with them.
The foreign ministry said Usmanov owned a mansion worth 48 million pounds ($64 million) and an estate southwest of London, while Shuvalov owned two luxury apartments in central London worth 11 million pounds.
Johnson is facing mounting criticism from opposition politicians and some of his own lawmakers for what they say is a slow response on sanctions.
Britain has so far sanctioned fewer people than the European Union, which on Monday imposed sanctions on 26 prominent figures, including oligarchs and people active in the oil, banking and finance sectors.