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UK hits Russia and Belarus with sanctions worth £1.7bn against platinum and palladium to ‘damage war machine’



Britain has imposed a fresh round of trade sanctions on Russia and Belarus worth £1.7bn, principally targeting platinum and palladium, to “inflict further damage on the Russian war machine”.

Russia is the world’s top producer of palladium and the world’s second largest extractor of platinum – both of which are prized for their catalytic qualities.

Now, the UK will raise tariffs by 35 per cent on these precious metals in a move to destabilise the “ambitions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan have announced.

Ms Trevelyan, who last week hosted 23 of her international counterparts and officials to discuss how to provide trade and economic support to Ukraine, said: “We are determined to do our utmost to thwart Putin’s aims in Ukraine and undermine his illegal invasion, which has seen barbaric acts perpetrated against the Ukrainian people.

“This far-reaching package of sanctions will inflict further damage on the Russian war machine.

“It is part of a wider coordinated effort by the many countries around the world who are horrified by Russia’s conduct and determined to bring to bear our economic might to persuade Putin to change course.”

Planned export bans will also hit more than £250m worth of UK goods such as plastics, rubber, and machinery – all of which are valuable to Russia’s manufacturing and heavy machinery sectors.

The figure represents almost 10 per cent of UK exports to Russia last year [2021], according to the government.

This is the third wave of restrictions imposed by the government since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February and over £4bn worth of goods are subject to import and export sanctions.

More on Sanctions against Russia

Mr Sunak said the “illegal invasion of Ukraine is causing suffering on an enormous scale” and Mr Putin’s “barbaric war must be stopped”.

He continued: “Working closely with our allies we can and will thwart Putin’s ambitions.”

The latest set of sanctions, excluding gold and energy, will bring the proportion of goods imports from Russia hit by restrictions to more than 96 per cent.

Britain has sought to punish Russia through a range a sanctions to damage Putin’s regime; just last week the UK government placed sanctions on Evraz, the multinational steelmaker part-owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich that was once among Britain’s biggest companies.

The measures also included 35 per cent increases to tariffs on around £130m worth of Russian and Belarusian products including diamonds and rubber.

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