The UK government has frozen more than £18bn of assets belonging to oligarchs and other Russians under the sanctions regime brought in after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the first official total reveals.
Sanctions have been imposed on 1,271 people – including the former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and the “Nickel King” Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second richest person – according to the annual review of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), published on Thursday.
The government said the “most severe sanctions” ever imposed had resulted in the freezing of £18.39bn of Russian-linked assets, which is almost £6bn more than the assets held under all other UK sanction regimes.
Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “As staunch defenders of democracy, the UK is united with its allies in opposition to Russia’s barbaric and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We have imposed the most severe sanctions ever on Russia and it is crippling their war machine.
“To make sure we are doing all we can to keep the pressure on Putin’s corrupt cronies, we are more than doubling OFSI’s headcount. Our message is clear: we will not allow Putin to succeed in this brutal war.”
The value of assets frozen does not include properties; if the many UK houses of Russian oligarchs were included, the figure would be much larger. There are 106 properties subject to sanctions restrictions, 92 of which have been added since Russia launched its invasion on 24 February, the Land Registry said.
In addition to individuals, the UK has also imposed sanctions on 120 entities and frozen the assets of 19 Russian banks, which the government said had total global assets of more than £940bn.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a Foreign Office minister, said: “When Putin invaded Ukraine he assumed we would sit idly by. He was wrong. Instead, the UK and our international partners have stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in their fight for territorial integrity and political independence.
“Today’s report shows the scale of UK sanctions – freezing over £18bn of Russian assets to stop Putin funding his war machine. We will continue to ramp up our sanctions to exert maximum economic pressure on the Russian regime until Ukraine prevail.”