The Kremlin has described a threat by Britain to seize the London homes of oligarchs as “alarming”. It has vowed to retaliate if such a move were implemented.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been vocal about the possibility of imposing harsh sanctions on Russia in the event of war with Ukraine. In an interview with Sky News on the weekend, she said that “nothing is off the table” when deciding which entities could be subject to sanction – including oligarchs and their London assets.
"This will amount to the toughest sanctions regime against Russia we have had in place yet, and mark the biggest change in our approach since leaving the European Union," she added.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson to Russian President Vladimir Putin, replied by characterising Truss’ words as “extremely alarming”, pointing out that her threat “undermines investment attractiveness and the United Kingdom’s attractiveness.”
Mr Peskov said that such direct threats on “a business” were rarely heard in international politics, according to state news agency TASS. “An attack by one particular country on Russian business of course implies retaliatory measures,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying.
The threat of depriving Putin’s inner circle of money and influence is increasingly being used by the allies to disincentivise a Russian invasion of Ukraine. In spite of a troop build-up on the Russian-Ukrainian border, the threat of war remains relatively low, with talks continuing in earnest in an attempt to diffuse the situation. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has travelled to Ukraine this week to talk with allies, and is also due to call the Kremlin, while US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today.