Britain on Monday announced a new enforcement unit to target companies evading sanctions placed on Russia, in an attempt to further tighten Russian President Vladimir Putin's financial ability to wage war in Ukraine. Photo by Kremlin POOL/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Britain on Monday announced the creation of a new enforcement unit to crack down on companies evading sanctions imposed on Russia over its war in Ukraine, as London is expected to level new punitive measures against the Kremlin.
The Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation will be tasked with civil enforcement of sanctions and will help businesses comply with the restrictions and investigate potential breaches, issue civil penalties and refer cases for criminal enforcement, Britain's Industry and Economic Security Ministry said in a statement.
"Today's announcement will further strengthen the UK's sanctions system and allow us to maximize the impact that trade sanctions have on those who continue to flout global rules," Britain's sanction minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Britain has been among leading nations in trying to hold Moscow to account, slapping sanctions against more than 1,500 people and entities, including oligarchs and major banks.
British restrictions on Russia have also posed London to phase out imports of Russian oil by year's end and curbed its exportation of critical technologies to Moscow with intent to paralyze its military-industrial development.
Because of the moves, more than $25 billion of Britain-Russia trade is sanctioned, resulting in trade between to the two countries falling to historic lows, London said, with imports from Russia to Britain having dropped by 94%.
The announcement of the new office -- which is to launch early next year -- also comes as Britain is expected to unleash new sanctions targeting industries that raise revenue to fund the war and items Russian soldiers have been using on the battlefield in Ukraine, such as machine parts and chemicals.
"Without international sanctions, we estimate Russia would have over $400 billion more to fund the war, enough to fund the invasion for a further four years," Trevelyan said.
"We are hitting Russia where it hurts and starving Putin of the resources he needs to fund his illegal war on Ukraine."
On Wednesday, Britain imposed 46 new sanctions against military suppliers propping up Russia's war, hitting business in Belarus, China, Serbia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.