The UK Tuesday announced new sanctions against Russian-installed officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the sanctions are designed to hold Kremlin-appointed officials accountable for their efforts to suppress the freedoms of Ukrainians and Russians.
The latest addition to the UK’s sanction regime against Russia includes four different categories of individuals: Russian-installed officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Russian regional governors supporting the war, Russian Ministry of Justice officials and Russian oligarchs closely connected to the Kremlin.
Russian-installed Prime Minister Vitaly Khotsenko and First Deputy Chairman Vladislav Kuznetsov of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics are the first two officials included in the sanctions package. The Luhansk and Donetsk regions located in eastern Ukraine have been at the heart of the Russia-Ukraine conflict since Russia voted to recognize the two regions as independent republics in early February. Since then, Russia invaded, extended citizenship to and attempted to seize control of the wider eastern Ukraine region. As part of the Russian effort to seize control, the Kremlin installed Khotsenko and Kuznetsov in June 2022. Both individuals are subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.
The sanctions package also targeted twenty nine Russian regional governors which the UK accuses of transferring funds to and facilitating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Specifically, the UK claims the Kremlin issued orders to the governors to transfer funds to the Russian-recognized Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. All twenty-nine regional governors are subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.
The UK also sanctioned Russian Minister of Justice Konstantin Chuychenko and Deputy Minister of Justice Oleg Sviridenko for their role in suppressing Russian citizens’ freedom of speech. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has repeatedly moved to suppress any dissident voices. A recent expansion of Russia’s “foreign agent” law expands the definition and gives authorities wide discretion to deem citizens “under foreign influence.” If found guilty, citizens are subject to heavy criminal penalties. Again, both Ministry of Justice officials are subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.
The final group subject to the new UK sanctions include oligarchs Sarvar and Sanjar Ismailov; both brothers have close ties to the Kremlin, according to the UK. The Ismailovs are the nephews and sons of two Russian individuals sanctioned by the UK earlier this year. The two are believed to own homes in the UK, which will now be frozen assets under the sanctions. Both Ismailovs are closely tied to Putin through their business in “sectors of strategic significance” through their company known as USM Holdings.