Russia slaps sanctions on British officials, historians and academics

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Moscow says UK bears responsibility for ‘crimes against civilians’ for assisting Ukraine to repel Russia’s invasion.

Russia has imposed sanctions on 18 British citizens including officials, academics and Russia experts for what Moscow says is an attempt to demonise Russia and fan the war in Ukraine.

“We are forced to state that Russophobically charged British representatives do not shy away trying to discredit the constitutional system and socio-political processes in our country,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

“The so-called brain trusts operating on the basis of the largest British and Western educational institutions make a significant contribution to the subversive work of London in the Russian direction.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said the United Kingdom’s strategy on Ukraine has led to further escalation and loss of life in the war.

“By pushing the [President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy regime to continue the bloodshed, the British must realise that, along with Ukrainian neo-Nazis, they bear responsibility for crimes against civilians,” the ministry alleged.

Personal sanctions were announced against British Deputy Defence Minister James Cartlidge, Deputy National Security Adviser Sarah MacIntosh and Director of Submarines Simon Asquith.

Others targeted included Stuart Peach, the British prime minister’s special envoy to the Western Balkans, as well as Lords Dan Hannan and Michael Ashcroft.

The academics sanctioned included historians Orlando Figes, Norman Davies, Timothy Garton Ash, Rob Johnson, David Abulafia and experts including Roy Allison of the University of Oxford, Graeme Robertson of the University of North Carolina, Calder Walton of Harvard University and James Sherr of the International Centre for Defence & Security in Tallinn.

There was no immediate comment from the British government.

The UK has provided military and financial aid to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. In January, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the country will increase its military aid to Ukraine in the next financial year to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.15bn), an increase of 200 million pounds ($252m) on the previous two years.

Sunak and Zelenskyy also signed a security agreement that the Ukrainian leader said would remain in place until Kyiv joined the NATO military alliance.

Ukraine had been fighting for the principles of freedom and democracy for two years, Sunak said in a statement in January.

“We will stand with Ukraine in their darkest hours and in the better times to come,” he promised.

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