UK announces more sanctions as police warn Russia trying to circumvent measures

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain warned that Russia was trying to circumvent sanctions as it announced 46 new measures against individuals and groups from other countries it said were involved in Russia’s military supply chains.

The latest entities to be sanctioned included businesses operating in China, Turkey, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, Britain’s foreign ministry said.

The Russian embassy in London described the sanctions as “futile” and an “act of poorly staged drama”, coming as British Foreign Secretary David Cameron visits the United States to reaffirm London’s continued support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

The Chinese embassy in London said it condemned the move and would counter anything that undermined its interests.

Britain has staunchly supported Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, and said it was targeting third-country suppliers in order to limit Russia’s ability to get around sanctions to obtain restricted goods.

“We will continue to ratchet up pressure on Putin and crack down on third parties providing restricted goods and technology to Russia, wherever they may be,” junior foreign minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

Britain sanctioned 31 people and entities it said were linked to the design and manufacture of drones and missile parts and the import of electronic components, four UAE-based entities it said were involved in trading Russian oil, and others linked to the Wagner mercenary group.

The designations also included a Belarusian defence organisation Britain said had manufactured military technology used by Minsk to support Russia’s war effort.

China said it was firmly opposed to the sanctions. “We urge the UK government to immediately correct its mistake and lift sanctions on Chinese companies,” the embassy said.

“The Chinese government will take firm and effective measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s National Crime Agency said it had issued a warning to banks and other financial institutions and members of the UK regulated sector about Russia seeking to obtain sanctioned goods through intermediary countries.

“Sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine have had a significant impact on its ability to purchase products, including military supplies, on international markets,” the NCA said.

“However, in an effort to circumvent these controls, Russia is using complex supply chains and alternative supply routes to acquire sanctioned products.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Britain has sanctioned more than 1,600 individuals and about 250 entities.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, Alistair Smout and Michael Holden in London and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Additional Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Christopher Cushing)