UK Sanctions Strategy

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written statement – made at on 22 February 2024.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Today, HM Government is publishing its first sanctions strategy.

The world is more complex and more dangerous. It is marked by hostile states, terrorist organisations, cyber threats, criminal gangs, and a whole range of challenges to our interests and values.

Sanctions are an important tool we have to respond. In recent years, the UK has built formidable sanctions capability and transformed its use of sanctions as an instrument of foreign and security policy. Working alongside our partners and allies, our carefully deployed sanctions are tackling malign activity and making a difference – from disrupting Russia’s war machine to confronting human rights abuses and violations in Iran.

Our new sanctions strategy sets out our approach and priorities since the passage of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. It covers our objectives; the responsible design and targeting of sanctions; and how we collaborate across Government and with international partners and the private sector to maximise impact. It emphasises our renewed push to bear down on efforts to get around our sanctions and the further investment made in strengthening sanctions implementation and enforcement. It underlines that the UK remains fully committed to working with allies to pursue all lawful routes through which Russian assets can be used to support Ukraine.

Sanctions remain a mainstay of our response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We are publishing the strategy as we prepare to mark two years on from that terrible and illegal step and as we demonstrate further the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine. This includes today’s announcement of a package of over 50 designations targeting the Russian military-industrial complex and Russia’s major revenue-generating industries, including energy and metals.

And following the tragic news of Alexei Navalny’s death, the House will have seen our announcement of the targeted designation of six individuals heading up the penal colony where Alexei Navalny suffered such brutal mistreatment by the Russian authorities.

Sadly our sanctions remain all too necessary in other parts of the world. We have used sanctions in support of regional stability in the Middle East and Red Sea by targeting Hamas leaders and financiers, key Houthi figures involved in attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and extremist settlers in the West Bank. We have also used our sanctions this year to target malign cyber actors, entities propping up the brutal Myanmar military regime three years after the coup, and those undermining peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We will also be publishing a Post-Legislative Scrutiny Memorandum for the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 in early March. The Memorandum provides a summary and a preliminary assessment of the provisions and implementation of the Act – including the legislative amendments that have come before this House to strengthen our approach.

I thank the House for the continued support and engagement to ensure our sanctions are as effective as possible in advancing global peace and security and protecting the UK.

A copy of the strategy will be placed in the libraries of both Houses.