The British government has sanctioned a shadowy Russian mercenary organization reportedly being used by Russia to try to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The Wagner Group has operated for several years in Syria, Libya, Africa and in the disputed Donbas region of Ukraine, where it can carry out missions on Moscow’s behalf while still offering the Kremlin plausible deniability of official Russian involvement.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Thursday announced 65 U.K. government sanctions, targeting Russian industries, banks and “business elites” that have been linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Included on the sanctions list are Russian Railways and Kronshtadt, a defense manufacturer that produces the majority of Russian drones. The British government added the Wagner Group to the list after it was “reportedly tasked” with killing Mr. Zelenskyy.
“These oligarchs, businesses, and hired thugs are complicit in the murder of innocent civilians and it is right that they pay the price,” Ms. Truss said in a statement.
The Russian companies and individuals on the sanctions list will have their assets in the U.K. frozen, which means no British citizen or company can do business with them. Anyone on the list also will be prohibited from traveling to or from Great Britain, officials said.
“Putin should be under no illusions — we are united with our allies and will keep tightening the screw on the Russian economy to help ensure he fails in Ukraine. There will be no let-up,” Ms. Truss said.