UK sanctions Roman Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs

LONDON — The U.K. has sanctioned Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and six other Russian oligarchs, after facing criticism for being slow to target individuals.

The British government Thursday added seven oligarchs with a collective wealth worth of around £15 billion to its list of individuals sanctioned over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, his one time business partner Oleg Deripaska and Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin have seen their assets in the U.K. frozen. They have also been banned from doing business with U.K. citizens and businesses and from traveling to Britain.

Four more members of Putin’s inner circle have been hit with an asset freeze and a travel ban. They are Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB Bank; Alexei Miller, chief executive of Gazprom; Nikolai Tokarev, president of pipeline company Transneft; and Dmitri Lebedev, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya.

“Today’s sanctions are the latest step in the U.K.’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “We will be ruthless in pursuing those who enable the killing of civilians, destruction of hospitals and illegal occupation of sovereign allies.”

Abramovich, who was in the process of selling Chelsea, is the only one of the seven oligarchs who is not yet on a sanctions list issued by the U.S., the EU or both.

The U.K. government published a license authorizing a number of football-related activities to continue at Chelsea, given the impact the sanctions have over the football club, which will be allowed to continue playing matches — though Abramovich’s sale of the club is now on ice.

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