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UK to sanction Russian banks, individuals

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking as he updates MPs on the situation in Ukraine and sanctions to be made against Russia, in the House of Commons, in London, Tuesday. (AP)
A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking as he updates MPs on the situation in Ukraine and sanctions to be made against Russia, in the House of Commons, in London, Tuesday. (AP)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain is slapping sanctions on five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals over Russia's latest military moves on Ukraine.

Johnson told lawmakers that sanctions would hit Rossiya Bank, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

He said three Russian oligarchs with interests in energy and infrastructure -- Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg -- will have their assets frozen and be banned from traveling to the U.K.

All three have already been sanctioned by the United States.

Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ``establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive'' against Ukraine and said ``further powerful sanctions'' would follow if that happened.

``This the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do and we hold further sanctions at readiness to be deployed,'' Johnson told British lawmakers.

He also said that Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers have been spotted in the separatist Ukrainian regions recognized as independent by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said that amounts to ``a renewed invasion'' of Ukraine.

Top European Union officials say the bloc is set to impose sanctions on several Russian officials as well as banks financing the Russian armed forces. It also intends to limit Moscow's access to EU capital and financial markets.

A statement Tuesday said the move would ``target those who were involved in the illegal decision'' to recognize two rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine. It didn't identify them.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel said it would also ``target trade from the two breakaway regions to and from the EU.''

They said the restrictive measures would aim to limit ``the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU's capital and financial markets and services, to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies.''

EU foreign ministers are meeting later Tuesday to discuss the measures. The two leaders said that ``the EU has prepared and stands ready to adopt additional measures at a later stage if needed in the light of further developments.''

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