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UK announces Russian trade sanctions on vodka, art, sports cars and designer clothes

The economic sanctions are designed to ’cause maximum harm to Putin’s war machine’, the Government said

The UK is slapping higher tariffs on Russian vodka

Image: REUTERS)

The UK has slapped Russian export bans on luxury goods such as sports cars and high fashion and hiked import tariffs on vodka to tighten the squeeze on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

New export ban will “likely affect luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art”, alongside a 35% hike to import tariffs on Russian goods such as vodka.

The economic sanctions are designed to “cause maximum harm to Putin’s war machine”, the Government said.

Russian brutality in Ukraine has continued for a 20th day, with air strikes hitting residential buildings in the capital Kyiv.

Britain announced a fresh round of sanctions on powerful Russians today as the Economic Crime Bill goes through its final stages in Parliament.

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Firefighters stand on a crane to extinguish a fire in an apartment building in Kyiv on March 15 after strikes on residential areas killed at least two people
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The legislation will make it easier to push through tougher restrictions on Putin’s cronies after the UK faced criticism over the speed of its sanctions process.

Alongside sanctions against individuals, the UK is piling pressure on trade to make life increasingly difficult for the wealthy elites supporting the Kremlin.

Russia and its ally Belarus will be denied access to “Most Favored Nation” tariff for hundreds of their exports, depriving both nations of a key benefit of being members of the World Trade Organisation.

An initial list of goods worth £900 million – including vodka – will now face additional 35% import tariffs, on top of current tariffs.

Other products include iron and steel, fertilisers, cereals, fur, glass and glassware, antiques and white fish.

The UK will also ban exports of luxury goods to Russia alongside G7 allies, which will come into force “shortly”.

Britain exported £193 million of goods to Russia in January alone and £3 billion in 2021.

UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has also supported £189.9 million of exports to Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea, mostly for oil and mining companies and for deals involving companies whose owners have now been sanctioned by either the US, EU or UK.

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Another £7.6 million was supported for exports to Belarus in the same period.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our international partners in our determination to punish Putin for his barbaric actions in Ukraine, and we will continue our work to starve his regime of the funds that enable him to carry them out.”

She said the UK was determined to deny Putin “further resources for his invasion” of Ukraine.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect.

“These tariffs build on the UK’s existing work to starve Russia’s access to international finance, sanction Putin’s cronies and exert maximum economic pressure on his regime.”

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “For weeks, Labor has been calling for tougher sanctions including a ban on luxury goods, so it is a positive step that Ministers have listened and announced this, though it should have not taken this long .

“Urgent sanctions have been needed so that Putin and his inner circle cannot live a Mayfair lifestyle in Moscow whilst committing atrocities in Ukraine.

“The Government now needs to ensure that the export ban has no loop holes so it has maximum impact.”

Meanwhile, the EU also announced an export ban on luxury goods to Russia on high-end goods like luxury cars and jewellery.

Caviar, wine, handbags, leather products, shoes and coats will no longer be sent to Moscow by EU companies under the new rules.

Brussels also imposed an import ban on some steel products and Russian energy sector investments.

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