Reed Smith News Flashes

The United Kingdom and United States announced further sanctions Feb. 24 following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The European Union is expected to follow suit and “freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets,” according to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK’s “largest ever” set of economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions package includes:

  • Freezing the assets of Russia’s second largest bank;
  • Excluding all Russian banks from the UK financial system;
  • Banning Russian state and private companies from raising money in the UK;
  • Sanctioning over 100 individuals and entities, including Russian oligarchs and defense companies;
  • Limiting the amount of money Russians can maintain in British bank accounts; and
  • Implementing new export controls in concert with the United States.

New legislation banning the export of dual-use items to Russia, including a range of high-end and critical technological components, will be introduced early next week. Further details on new policies to address sanctions avoidance are expected before Easter.

Johnson indicated the UK’s sanctions will also apply to Belarus. In his remarks to the G7, Johnson said he would also discuss the case for excluding Russia from the SWIFT international payments system with the UK’s allies.

United States

In a press conference this afternoon, President Biden announced further sanctions on Russia “to impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time.” Biden emphasized that today’s sanctions are tailored to have a maximum impact on Russia while minimizing the impact on the United States and its allies. The sanctions include:

  • Severing the connection of Russia’s largest financial institution to the U.S. financial system by imposing correspondent and payable-through account sanctions;
  • Imposing full blocking sanctions on four additional Russian banks, including Russia’s second largest bank;
  • Sanctioning additional Russian elites and their families with close ties to President Putin;
  • Imposing new debt and equity restrictions on 13 major Russian enterprises and entities;
  • Sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals and entities, specifically focused on Belarus’s defense sector and financial institutions;