UK inks legislation allowing tougher Russia sanctions
The new legislation has become effective after being signed by a minister and formally laid before Parliament.
The UK government signed new legislation into law on Thursday that gives it the authority to impose tougher and broader sanctions on Russia if it escalates its alleged aggression against Ukraine, as per the western rhetoric.
The new legislation became effective after being signed by a minister and formally laid before Parliament, a procedure that does not necessitate a vote by MPs.
This came as UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss visited Moscow and met with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, who later said the talks left him "disappointed".
As fears of an invasion grow, London said the new legislation was part of efforts to "urge the Kremlin to end its campaign of aggression in Ukraine."
According to the UK government, Minister for Europe James Cleverly signed the legislation, which lays the groundwork for "the strongest sanctions regime the UK has ever had against Russia."
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, told broadcasters in Warsaw that if Russia attacks Ukraine, "an automatic package of sanctions must be ready to go."
He added that this should include the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, calling this a "very, very important priority."
Read more: Nord Stream will not proceed if Russia invades: US
The UK can now impose sanctions on Russian companies and individuals in a "wide range of economically and strategically significant sectors," the government said, naming the chemical, defense, and information technology industries, as well as financial services.
The changes mean that the UK can now impose sanctions on those who are "directly linked to the destabilization of Ukraine," according to the Foreign Office.
It can now target Russian government-affiliated entities and businesses, as well as their owners, directors, and trustees.
It is worth mentioning that the UK and the US have raised the prospect of even harsher economic sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the situation around Ukraine has worsened over the past several months after the US and its allies accused Russia of preparing to "invade" its neighbor.
Russia has repeatedly denied having plans to attack any country but said it reserves the right to move troops inside its sovereign territory as it sees fit, as part of defending its security.
Moscow has also warned that NATO's plans to expand further eastward, including in Ukraine, represent a threat to its national security.