UK to introduce new sanctions on Belarus and Russian media

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LONDON -Britain said it would on Tuesday introduce new economic, trade and transport sanctions on Belarus over its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and also sanctioned six Russians it said were spreading disinformation.

The Belarus package will include import and export bans on goods worth around 60 million pounds ($73 million), including on exports of oil refining goods, advanced technology components and luxury goods, and imports of Belarusian iron and steel.

Britain will also ban more Belarusian companies from issuing debt and securities in London.

“The Belarus regime has actively facilitated Putin’s invasion, letting Russia use its territory to pincer Ukraine – launching troops and missiles from their border and flying Russian jets through their airspace,” the British government said in a statement.

Britain has already raised import tariffs on a range of products from Belarus by 35 percentage points and sanctioned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and senior government officials.

Britain, along with Western allies, has been imposing sanctions against Russian elites, banks and strategic industries since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Russia says it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The six Russians named by Britain’s finance ministry on Monday were mostly associated with the websites SouthFront and NewsFront, which Britain said had “spread disinformation relating to Ukraine and promoted the Government of Russia’s false narrative about the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

Britain also sanctioned United World International, which it called an “online news site which promotes pro-Russian disinformation”.

Under the sanctions, British financial institutions must freeze immediately any assets they hold on behalf of sanctioned individuals or companies and report them to the government.

($1 = 0.8267 pounds)

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and David Milliken; editing by William James and Angus MacSwan)