UK announces fresh wave of sanctions against Russian military leaders

‘Today’s new wave of sanctions hits the generals and defence companies that have blood on their hands,’ UK foreign secretary says

Zelensky accuses Russia of terrorising civilians in southern Ukraine

The UK has announced a fresh wave of sanctions on leading figures in the Russian army as the war in Ukraine wages on.

The Foreign Office said the move followed a renewed assault in the East and intelligence suggesting civilian infrastructure was intentionally being targeted in the beseiged city of Mariupol.

It said the new wave of sanctions would target those commanding the Russian front line to commit “heinous acts” during the war, which is believed to have killed hundreds of civilians, devastated cities and displaced more than three million in its first two months.

Lt Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov, who has been dubbed the “Butcher of Bucha” over alleged command of a massacre in the city, is among those targeted.

Others include Colonel General Andrey Serdyukov, the commander of the Airborne Forces, Major General Valery Flyustikov, the commander of the Special Operations Forces, and Colonel General Nikolay Bogdanovsky, the first deputy chief of the General Staff.

These military figures have been hit by a travel ban and asset freeze in the new round of sanctions.

Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, said: “The depravity of Russia’s assault on the people of Ukraine is plain for all to see. They are deliberately targeting hospitals, schools, and transport hubs in Mariupol and beyond – just as they did in Chechnya and Syria.”

She added: “Today’s new wave of sanctions hits the generals and defence companies that have blood on their hands.”

Two Russian soldiers patrol in the Mariupol drama theatreon April 12, 2022, as Russian troops intensify a campaign to take the strategic port city

As well as key figures in the Russian army, the UK governent said the new wave of 26 sanctions would also cover non-military figures who “are actively supporting” the war in Ukraine.

It said this included travel bans and asset freezes on Oleg Belozyorov, the chief executive of vital logistics company Russian Railways, and Ilya Kiva, an expelled Ukrainian MP.

The UK has already set out hundreds of sanctions on prominent Russian billionaires and politicians over the war in Ukraine.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, his prime minister and the defence minister are among those who have been hit since the invasion was launched on 24 February.

This week, Russian forces opened a new phase of the war in a deadly drive along a front from the northeastern city of Kharkiv to the Azov Sea. It follows a botched attempt to storm Kyiv and comes amid mounting Russian losses.

Russian officials now say capturing the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, is the war’s main goal.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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