The British government has imposed sanctions on five Russian banks and three oligarchs with personal ties to Vladimir Putin in response to the Russian president’s formal recognition of breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine on Monday.
The sanctions were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a statement made in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“The sanctions list includes Rossiya Bank, IS Bank (Industrial Savings Bank), General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Development Bank,” he told the chamber.
The billionaires targeted with personal sanctions — which include a total asset freeze — are Gennady Tymoshenko, Boris Rotenberg and his nephew, Igor Rotenberg. All three are known to have personal ties to the Russian president.
Tymoshenko is one of the major shareholders in one of the banks hit by the sanctions, Rossiya Bank and is the sixth richest person in Russia. He also has Finnish and Armenian citizenship.
Tymchenko has reportedly been close friends with Putin dating back to the early 1990s when the Russian president was a fledgling politician. He has been subjected to personal sanctions previously by the U.S. government back in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Boris Rotenberg is a known childhood friend of Putin and a former judo sparring partner of the Russian president. He is a co-owner of SMP Bank and estimated to be worth $1.2 billion.
His nephew, Igor Rotenberg, controls drilling company Gazprom Bureniye and is described by the U.K. government as “a prominent Russian businessmen with close familial ties to President Putin.”
Johnson announced that the U.K. would be freezing their assets in Britain, with those affected by the sanctions being unable to enter the country, and British citizens and companies being prohibited from entering into any business dealings with them.
Commenting on the announcement, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described the move as “our first wave of sanctions targeting oligarchs and banks close to the Kremlin.
“We will keep ratcheting up sanctions if Russia refuses to de-escalate,” she added.