Britain Has Frozen £18B in Russian Assets

On Thursday, the UK government said it has frozen more than £18B ($20.5B) of Russian assets from businesses, businessmen, and other individuals over the war in Ukraine — surpassing Libya and Iran as the UK's most sanctioned country.

Britain Has Frozen £18B in Russian Assets
Image credit: Reuters

Facts

  • On Thursday, the UK government said it has frozen more than £18B ($20.5B) of Russian assets from businesses, businessmen, and other individuals over the war in Ukraine — surpassing Libya and Iran as the UK's most sanctioned country.
  • Per a government release, the assets of more than 1.2k individuals, 120 businesses, and 19 Russian banks have been frozen — adding up to around £6B ($6.8B) more than the amount held against all other British-sanctioned regimes.
  • The sanctions consist of frozen shareholdings in companies and cash held in bank accounts. However, they don't include physical assets, such as real estate or assets held in Crown Dependencies.
  • As a result of the sanctions, Russia's GDP is predicted to drop 6.2% this year, with a further decline of 2.3% in 2023.
  • Since the start of the war, the UK Treasury has received 236 reports of sanctions violations. This includes Russian billionaire Petr Aven allegedly evading sanctions by using his wife's bank accounts, although the accusations have been challenged in a London Court.
  • The Treasury estimates that 60% of Russia's foreign reserves have been immobilized, its exports have plummeted, and its imports of critical goods have declined by 68%.

Sources: Reuters, Axios, Daily Mail, and Edge Markets.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Project Syndicate. While Western sanctions have been effective and should be lauded, they so far have been on capital goods that take longer to impact the Russian economy. Western allies need to ensure that they're all simultaneously imposing restrictions on narrowly defined, war-specific goods that will cripple Putin's war effort exponentially more.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. It's hypocritical to impose sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine but not on the US for invading Iraq for equally unjustified reasons or on Israel for invading and annexing Arab lands. The West needs to take a hard look at its double standards.