UK has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of the UK’s economic sanctions on Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The UK Parliament Treasury Committee said it will examine whether the UK’s sanction programme is hampering Mr Putin’s ability to fund Russia’s armed forces.

It said it will investigate the work of HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), which has been tasked with ensuring financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented, and enforced in the UK.

Members of Parliament (MPs) will be seeking to understand the extent to which it is possible to seize frozen Russian assets, including the legal constraints of such action and the global context required to do so effectively. 

Other areas Members will seek to probe include whether sanctions should be broadened to include any entities buying Russian oil and gas and how different UK economic sectors, such as maritime and insurance, are performing when it comes to the relevant sanctions. 

The UK parliament’s treasury committee is calling for evidence to be submitted by March 28.

Harriett Baldwin MP, chair of the treasury select committee, commenting on the new inquiry, said: 

“Two years on from Putin’s abhorrent invasion of Ukraine, Russia is still ploughing tens of billions into its defence budget which poses the question – are the West’s financial sanctions having the desired effect? 

“We must not let up in our efforts to plug every possible gap which Putin and his cronies exploit to get around our sanctions. Our committee is aiming to identify any areas within the UK’s purview which we feel could be improved so that, as a country, we can be confident we’re doing our bit to deal a fatal blow to the Kremlin war chest.”

To mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2024, the UK announced over 50 new sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses.

As of 23 February 2024, 1,702 individuals and 298 entities are subject to UK sanctions under the Russia regime.

1,718 individuals and 419 entities are subject to EU sanctions against Russia, including secondary sanctions.

The UK has targeted 129 oligarchs with a combined net worth of over £145 billion.