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Britain targets Russian companies, 'Kremlin elites' in new sanctions package

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (L) and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba talk during a visit to London by a Ukrainian delegation to the European country. Photo courtesy of British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly/Twitter
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly (L) and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba talk during a visit to London by a Ukrainian delegation to the European country. Photo courtesy of British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly/Twitter

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a visit to London, the British government unleashed a new round of sanctions targeting Russian military companies and those it described as "Kremlin elites."

Britain's foreign secretary, James Cleverly, announced the new package of punitive measures Wednesday while Zelensky was in the European country for a historic visit in which he addressed Parliament and met King Charles III.

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The trip and new round of sanctions come as Russia's war in Ukraine nears its grim one-year anniversary on Feb. 24.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the sanctions unveiled Wednesday target six companies providing military equipment, such as drones and helicopter parts, as well as eight people and one company accused of being connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin through "opaque financial networks."

"We cannot let him succeed. We must increase our support," Cleverly said in a statement. "These new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin -- undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail.

"I am determined, consistent with our laws, that Russia will have no access to the assets we have frozen until it ends, once and for all, its threats to Ukraine's territorial sovereignty and integrity."

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Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the democratic world has responded by arming Kyiv in its fight and sanctioning Moscow to cripple Putin's ability to make war.

According British officials, London as sanctioned more than 1,300 people and entires since the conflict began as well as imposed trade measures on Russia in conjunction with partner nations.

The measures have sanctioned more than $24 billion worth of goods while decreasing trade of machinery and transport equipment by 98%, which the foreign development office said has forced Russia to "scrounge sub-par semiconductors from fridges and dishwasher to build military equipment."

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