Ukraine crisis: Russian oligarchs with UK links could face sanctions over Crimea annexation, warns David Cameron

Putin made official the act that triggered the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War

Brussels

As President Vladimir Putin officially completed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, David Cameron warned that any further military incursions into Ukraine would result in harsh and wide-ranging economic sanctions which could stretch to oligarchs with assets in Britain.

With the signing of a law incorporating the Black Sea peninsula into Russia, Mr Putin made official the act that triggered the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.

The EU has been scrambling to come up with an appropriate response, and is split between nations that want it to hit Russia with all the punitive tools at its disposal, and those urging caution. Early on Friday, the EU’s 28 leaders agreed to add 12 more names to a list of 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials under visa bans and assets freezes for their role in the annexation of Crimea.

Also on Friday, the EU finally signed an association agreement with Ukraine. It was this document promising closer trade and political ties with the EU that sparked the crisis in November. After months of preparation, the then-President, Viktor Yanukovych, pulled out of signing it, sparking the months of street protests that eventually removed him from power. 

Fearful of losing influence in the former Soviet state, Moscow sent troops into Crimea – home to a Russian naval base – and helped organised a hasty referendum on separation.

Such behaviour by Russia, Mr Cameron said, “belongs to the Europe of the last century not this one”, warning that unless Europe took a tough, united stance now, “we will face similar situations in similar countries”.

The EU has imposed trade restrictions on goods from Crimea and asked the European Commission – the bloc’s administrative arm – to draw up potential sanctions that would hit at the heart of the Russian economy. These would be implemented if Russia made further moves to destabilise Ukraine.

Mr Cameron spelled out the line Russia needed to cross: “If, for instance, Russian troops were to go into the east of the country, the Russians need to know that would trigger… far-reaching consequences in a broad range of economic areas.” Sectors to be investigated for potential sanctions “must include some of the key areas like finance, like the military, like energy”, he added.

Read more: Trapped Ukrainian forces are left with an impossible dilemma
Q&A: The effects of sanctions

The EU’s expanded sanctions list did not, however, go as far as one published by Washington a day earlier, which included a bank and oligarchs providing Russia with “material support”.

There is substantial Russian money in banks and property in Britain, and Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has suggested that the EU should target Premier League football club owners Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov. Asked about Mr Abramovich, Mr Cameron said: “We certainly haven’t ruled anyone out from this approach.” But he added that the EU approach differed from the US’s as the bloc had to demonstrate that people under sanctions had a link with Russian actions in the Ukraine.

While there have been divisions in the past few days, in the end, EU leaders valued a united approach. Many Baltic and Eastern European states have had to balance their concerns about the vulnerability of their proximity to Russia with their dependence on Russian energy supplies.

“Putin can understand only a strong stance from the EU,” said Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania.

Mr Putin has brushed off all threats and sanctions, but Russian shares fell sharply yesterday after news that the country could be in for an economic blockade.

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices