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Ukraine War:UK imposes fresh round of sanctions on Russian officials

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The UK has announced a fresh round of sanctions against 22 Russians, including those the Foreign Office says were involved in enlisting criminals to fight in Ukraine.

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, said on Wednesday his department would target a new set of officials, including Denis Manturov, the deputy prime minister, who is responsible for troop equipment supplies.

The Russian officials join more than 1,000 others, including 120 the UK has sanctioned since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, among them Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian prime minister, and Roman Abramovich, the former owner of Chelsea FC.

Cleverly said: “The Russian regime’s decision to partially mobilise Russian citizens was a desperate attempt to overwhelm the valiant Ukrainians defending their territory. It has failed.

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“Today we have sanctioned individuals who have enforced this conscription, sending thousands of Russian citizens to fight in Putin’s illegal and abhorrent war. The UK will continue to use both sanctions and military aid to support Ukraine in the defence of their independence.”

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, announced the partial mobilisation of Russian citizens to fight the war in Ukraine in September, as Russian troops struggled to hold on to territory captured in the early stages of the war. The Kremlin set a goal of mobilising 300,000 troops, but the programme was beset by difficulties as young men fled Russia and protests erupted in several regions.

Earlier this month, Putin signed a law allowing for the conscription of people convicted of serious crimes, including murder, robbery and drug trafficking.

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Among those targeted by UK sanctions are Arkady Gostev, the head of the Russian prison system, who was specifically singled out for supporting the conscription of criminals to the notorious Wagner Group of mercenaries.

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Dmitry Bezrukikh, the head of the prison service in the Rostov region, was also named. The Wagner Group has reportedly recruited heavily from Rostov, which the Foreign Office called the group’s “recruitment hub”.

Other Rostov officials were also listed, including Andrey Burov, the head of the region’s election commission.

The announcement comes a day after Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, addressed MPs in Westminster, urging them to continue supporting the country’s war effort. She compared Ukraine’s experience over the past year to what Britain went through during the blitz, saying: “Ukrainians are going through a terror that will resonate with you. We hear air raid sirens every day, which are identical to those of past British generations.”

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Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov wrote: “We don’t have intention to comment on that. Just imagine if we comment on every single sanction introduced against us!”

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