London, Mar 10 (EFE).- The British government has frozen the assets of seven Russian oligarchs, including Roman Abramovich, the owner of Champions League holders Chelsea FC.
“There can be no safe havens for those who have supported Putin’s vicious assault on Ukraine,” British prime minister Boris Johnson said Monday.
“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the UK’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people. We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies,” Johnson added.
In addition to his assets being frozen, Abramovich will be banned from any transactions with British individuals and businesses, while he also faces a travel ban and transport sanctions, a statement by Downing Street said.
His former business partner Oleg Deripaska will face the same sanctions.
They and five other Russian oligarchs, “whose business empires, wealth and connections are closely associated with the Kremlin”, are the latest to be targeted in the UK’s escalating response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb 24.
British culture secretary Nadine Dorries acknowledged that the asset freeze would “have a direct impact on Chelsea”, which Abramovich has put up for sale, although no buyer has come forward yet.
“To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special license that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club,” Dorries said on Twitter.
“The government will work with the league and clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them.” EFE