UK to slap new sanctions on Moscow as it blocks access to Russian vessels

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The UK on Monday blocked Russian vessels’ access to British ports and waters.

“Today I’ve written to all UK ports asking them not to provide access to any Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels,” Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said on Twitter.

Given Russia’s “action” in Ukraine amid the war between the two sides, Shapps said he “made clear these vessels are NOT welcome here with prohibiting legislation to follow,” sharing a letter sent to the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Shapps’s remarks came after the British foreign secretary announced further sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs.

Addressing the House of Commons, Liz Truss said Russian President Vladimir Putin “expected to take cities quickly” in Ukraine.

“He expected Ukraine to retreat and he expected the West to be divided. Instead, his forces were met by the heroic heroism of President Zelenskyy and the resolute determination of the Ukrainian people. He has been met by a united West,” Truss said.

“Together with our friends around the world, we have taken decisive action.”

Truss said that the Russian currency had fallen by 40% in value because of the sanctions and that the Russian stock market was closed.

She underlined that people in “the UK and our allies will have to undergo some economic hardship as a result of our sanctions.”

“But our hardships are nothing compared to those injured by the people of Ukraine.”

– Further sanctions

Truss told the lawmakers that the government was introducing two new economic measures to hit the Russian economy further.

She said the new powers would be introduced to be used against the Russian financial sector and that their banks would not be able to make clearing payments in sterling.

This new power will first be used against Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, she said.

Truss said she will also impose a “full asset freeze” on three more Russian banks to prevent them from raising debt in the UK.

She underlined that this move would isolate Russian companies.

As a second measure, the foreign secretary said, the UK will ban high-tech exports to Russia to “act as a drag on Russia’s economy for years to come.”

– Don’t travel to Russia

Meanwhile, the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office updated its travel advice for Russia, asking citizens to avoid the country.

“We now advise against all travel to Russia,” said the advisory.

“Available flight options to return to the UK are limited and the Russian economy is becoming increasingly volatile.”

Since last Thursday, the war has claimed the lives of over 350 Ukrainian civilians, including children, and wounded more than 1,600, displacing at least 3 million people, according to Ukraine’s Health Ministry.

Since Russia’s war on Ukraine began, it has been met by outrage from the international community, with the EU, UK, and US implementing a range of economic sanctions against Russia.

Russia was further isolated after its planes were barred from flying in European and Canadian airspace, and several of its banks were kicked out of the international banking system SWIFT.

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