Russian oligarchs warned of 'nowhere to hide' from new UK sanctions

Putin-backing Russian oligarchs are warned they will have ‘nowhere to hide’ from new UK sanctions as ex-MI6 chief says Moscow CAN be deterred from invading Ukraine… with PM expected to visit the region this week

  • Liz Truss has urged Vladimir Putin to step back from feared invasion of Ukraine
  • Foreign Secretary warned Russia faces ‘quagmire’ like Afghanistan or Chechnya
  • She said government planning to bolster sanctions and ‘nobody’ will be immune 

Putin-backing oligarchs have been warned they will have ‘nowhere to hide’ if Ukraine is invaded as the UK prepares to unveil new sanctions today.

The Foreign Office is set to announce details of enhanced measures that could be used against ‘strategic interests’ of the Russian state. 

Targets could include financial institutions and energy firms as well as Mr Putin’s wealthy supporters. 

Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are expected to travel to the region this week, while the Foreign Secretary will head on to Moscow for talks.

Meanwhile, former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers has insisted Russia can be deterred from pushing ahead with an invasion if the West makes clear there will be ‘costs’. 

Liz Truss (pictured) has warned there will be ‘nowhere to hide’ from the UK’s new sanctions

Ukrainian civilians train to resist a Russian invasion over the weekend

Nato powers have been urging Mr Putin (pictured last week) to step back from confrontation 

Ms Truss said yesterday she will ‘use diplomacy’ on her visits but pledged: ‘The number one thing that will stop Vladimir Putin taking action is if he understands the costs of that action.’

She warned the Kremlin that Ukrainians would ‘fight hard’ and that Nato would ‘make sure’ any incursion caused as many problems as possible for Moscow. ‘This could well result in a quagmire like the Russians saw in Afghanistan or Chechnya,’ she said, referring to the two disastrous Russian occupations in the 1980s and 1990s respectively.

‘Any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia would be able to be targeted,’ Miss Truss told Sky News. ‘So there will be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs, for Russian companies involved in propping up the state.’

Mr Johnson said the measures will be ‘enacted the moment the first Russian toecap crosses further into Ukraine’. 

It comes as he also announced ‘an unprecedented package of support’ for Nato allies in the east.

There are already more than 100 troops providing training in Ukraine as well as 900 based in Estonia and 150 in Poland. Britain is proposing to deploy a further 1,200 to Estonia and Poland this week, including Paras and Royal Marine mountain and arctic warfare specialists.

Forces will also include Apache gunships and Deep Fire missile systems as well as electronic warfare and cyber units from the Royal Signals and the Royal Marines’ specialist Y Squadron.

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians are joining territorial forces to fight alongside 250,000 regular troops to defend their country. Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said there are ‘no plans’ to deploy Nato combat troops to Ukraine.

He noted there was ‘a difference’ between being a full Nato member, with a mutual defence obligation between countries, and a ‘strong and highly valued partner’ such as Ukraine.

Sir John Sawers told the BBC’s Today programme this morning that the threat of sanctions, together with the prospect of a long military struggle, could yet deter Moscow.

‘We know that from watching the American forces in Iraq in 2003 a major, sophisticated army can march to the capital and depose a government,’ he said.

‘The really difficult thing is to hold that territory. Ukraine is the size of Germany and France put together and 100,000 Russian troops could march to Kyiv but can they hold the country?

‘I think the real long-term cost to Russia would be if the Ukrainian forces fought a long-term insurgency against any Russian occupation.

‘I don’t think it will come to that. I don’t think the Russians will go that far, frankly, because they know they cannot occupy and hold Ukraine indefinitely so it’s right that we build up the cost to Russia now, make clear both from the military side and an economic side that they will pay a price, to try to deter them from the option of a major invasion.’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is preparing for talks with his counterpart in Moscow this week.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday accused Nato of trying to pull Kiev into the alliance, despite Russia massing 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders. Moscow wants Nato to rule out Ukraine ever becoming a member as a condition for its withdrawal.

The head of Russia’s security council, Nikolai Patrushev, said talk of a Russian invasion was ‘completely ridiculous’ and claimed: ‘We don’t want war and we don’t need it at all.’ 

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