"The reason can be any": how the UK is preparing to apply anti-Russian sanctions after Brexit
London is going to independently impose anti-Russian sanctions after the kingdom leaves the European Union. To this end, British lawmakers are preparing a regulatory framework - pan-European norms will cease to operate in the territory of the United Kingdom. The House of Commons approved the rules governing the use of sanctions. Also in London there are calls for tougher restrictions on Russian business. One of the reasons - the desire to please Washington, experts say.
The House of Commons by a majority vote approved a special regulation defining the procedure for applying anti-Russian sanctions after the United Kingdom finally ceases to be part of the European Union.
The document is needed in order for London to maintain the sanctions regime after Brexit, when the EU standards will cease to operate in British territory. The regulations were supported by 294 deputies, 184 were against. The majority of those who voted against were members of the opposition Labor Party.
- © Luke MacGregor
The explanatory note states that the sanctions imposed against Russia are aimed at encouraging Moscow to cease actions that destabilize Ukraine and undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
According to the doctor of political sciences, MSU professor Andrei Manoilo, although for British society and politicians the history of Skripale poisoning is much more significant than the situation in Crimea and Donbas, lawmakers deliberately shifted the emphasis to the Ukrainian line.
“It would have been easier for the British authorities to use the attempt at Salisbury as a reason for sanctions, but the fact is that Theresa May now has very strained relations with the House of Commons. And the charges in the case of Scripalus were put forward by May. By shifting the emphasis on the Crimea and Ukraine, the House of Commons thus shows that it does not support the prime minister, even in those issues that seem to be clear and resolved to the current British political elite, ”the expert explained in an interview with RT.
According to the adopted regulations, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain is vested with the right to add citizens to the sanctions list. The assets of its defendants may be frozen by the authorities of the kingdom, and entry into the territory of Great Britain will also be prohibited for them. London reserves the right to make other restrictions on the participants of the sanctions list.
Ahead of events
Recall that in early May, the British Foreign Ministry also introduced the “Guide on Sanctions against Russia” - the document regulates the execution of anti-Russian sanctions and includes specific guidelines for individuals and legal entities. For example, any British citizen, having learned that his counterparty is under the sanctions of London, must immediately report this to the Financial Sanctions Enforcement Administration and terminate all contracts with him.
- British Parliament.
- © UK Parliament / Mark Duffy / Handout via REUTERS
The Regulations on Russian Sanctions (Russia Regulations 2019), recently adopted, is a second-order regulatory act designed to ensure in practice the implementation of the sanctions introduced earlier. In it, first of all, it is about the “Magnitsky amendment” adopted last year to the Law on Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering.
The amendment, named by analogy with the law in force in the United States, allows freezing the assets of individuals and companies suspected of corruption and human rights violations. In particular, the Sanctions Act involves the disclosure of information until 2020 about persons holding assets under the jurisdiction of British offshore companies, such as the British Virgin Islands or Cayman Islands.
However, the application of sanctions had to be postponed - as Ben Wallace, the head of the Department of Home Affairs and Security of the United Kingdom, explained in September last year, London cannot move the amendment to Brexit. The fact is that the “Magnitsky amendment” became part of the Sanctions Act, which will determine London’s policy in this area after the country's withdrawal from the European Union. Up to this point, the British authorities must coordinate the sanctions measures with Brussels.
The delay caused dissatisfaction in British political circles that were inclined to confrontation with Moscow. A year ago, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of the British parliament called on the government to tighten restrictions against Russian officials and businessmen who are, according to deputies, in the circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The parliamentarians prepared a report entitled “The Gold of Moscow: Russian Corruption in the UK”, which stated that the deployment of Russian corruption assets in British jurisdiction could threaten the national security of the United Kingdom. Committee members demanded tougher conditions for Russian capital and business in the UK, and also recalled personal sanctions against the Russians.
A similar appeal was made in May of this year by a group of British lawmakers. They demanded that the government impose sanctions on individuals found to have violated human rights, including those suspected in the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
“Historically they have been pursuing an anti-Russian policy”
Recall, the ex-employee of the Russian special services Sergey Skripal, who lived in Salisbury in the British city for the past years, was poisoned by an unknown substance in March 2018 - this version was presented by the official authorities of the kingdom. At that moment Julia’s daughter was with him, she was also hospitalized, and her father and daughter were still alive. London claims that the Russian intelligence services were behind the assassination, using the Novice military toxic agent (A-234 . - RT ) against the former intelligence officer.
- Judicial physicians investigate the place where Sergey and Julia Skripal were found.
- © Peter Nicholls
Although no evidence supporting these allegations was presented, the story was picked up by politicians and the press. According to experts, the search for the “Russian threat” began to become panic in places - just recall the case when the British publication The Times published the words of a local expert that the popular cartoon “Masha and the Bear” is an element of “soft power” of Moscow.
Commenting on the calls for new anti-Russian sanctions, as well as the sanctions regulations adopted by the British authorities, the head of the MGIMO Department of Diplomacy Alexander Panov noted that the pretext for restrictive measures can be anything.
“The British have historically pursued an anti-Russian policy, this position was manifested even before the confrontation from the Crimea and Skripale began,” the expert explained in an interview with RT.
A similar point of view is shared by the head of the Center for Political Integration of the Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences Lyudmila Babynina. According to her, now London is preparing the legislative ground to implement, after Brexit, its own sanction line towards Russia - perhaps more stringent than the EU’s policy in this area.
"For London, it is important to extend the sanctions, and there can be any reason," Babynina said.
At the same time, the sanctions are unprofitable for the UK and are capable of causing damage to the economy of the kingdom, says Andrei Manoilo. According to the expert, in many respects the British side is now driven by the desire to emphasize its commitment to the policy of Washington.
“The theme of loyalty to American partners is very relevant for the current political elite of Great Britain. In the run-up to Brexit, friendship with the United States is more important for London than ties with Russia. At least, the aggravation of relations with Moscow, they can always "sell" the United States, ”summed up Andrei Manoilo.