Britain has sanctioned 206 more individuals over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – including a fugitive oligarch who has just been arrested by Ukrainian secret services.
Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian with ties to Vladimir Putin, is being subjected to a travel ban and an asset freeze, the UK government said.
Others on the sanctions list include: Maria Lavrova, the wife of Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov; Nigina Zairova, executive assistant to oligarch Mikhail Fridman; and Alexander Shulgin, boss of leading Russian e-commerce platform Ozon.
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Aftermath of deadly station airstrike
The list includes 178 people targeted in coordination with the EU because of their role in propping up illegal breakaway regions of Ukraine – including Alexander Ananchenko and Sergey Kozlov, self-styled prime minister and chair of government of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
It follows reports last week that Russia was “barbarically targeting civilians in those regions”, the government said – including a strike on a packed railway station in Kramatorsk which left more than 50 dead.
The UK said Mr Medvedchuk had already been identified by the US as a “possible Kremlin puppet leader in Ukraine” and Washington has already sanctioned him in relation to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014.
Vladimir Putin is godfather to one of his daughters.
Mr Medvedchuk, former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party in Ukraine, was placed under house arrest last year but fled shortly after the invasion and was on the run for 48 days.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after his capture that he wants to offer him to Russia in exchange for Ukrainian prisoners.
Since Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has sanctioned more than 1,400 individuals and businesses – including over 100 oligarchs and family members.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “In the wake of horrific rocket attacks on civilians in Eastern Ukraine, we are today sanctioning those who prop up the illegal breakaway regions and are complicit in atrocities against the Ukrainian people.
“We will continue to target all those who aid and abet Putin’s war.”