On September 26, 2022, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced that the UK imposed 92 sanctions in response to the sham referendums issued by the Russian regime in a desperate attempt to seize Ukrainian land and justify its illegal war. The UK also joins with international partners to condemn these egregious actions taken by the Russian government. The sanctions imposed by the UK target the Russian officials behind the sham votes as well as individual supporters of Russia’s war of aggression, including four Russian oligarchs with a combined global net worth of approximately £6.3 billion.
Among the sanctioned individuals is the Russian-installed Head of Government in Kherson, Seigei Yeliseyev; the Minister of Education and Science of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, Ivan Kusov, who was tasked with helping to blend the educational systems of Ukraine and Russia; Yevhen Balytskyi, the Russian-installed Head of the so-called Government in Zaporizhzhia; and Evgeniy Solntsev, the Deputy Chairman of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. The sanctioned entities include IMA Consulting, also known as “Putin’s favorite PR agency,” responsible for managing the public campaign for the sham referendums and Goznak, a security documents company that allegedly handled the production of millions of state documents, including expedited passports, in the temporarily controlled Ukrainian territories. The UK also sanctioned 55 board executives from major state-owned banks that continue to fund Russia’s war machine.
The UK reports that the process used by the Russian regime to issue the sham referendums closely follows the approach it used in 2014 with Crimea which combined disinformation, intimidation, and fake results – results that do not represent the demonstrated will of the Ukrainian people and reflect a clear violation of international law, including the UN charter. The UK also indicates that it will never recognize the results of any sham referendums or attempts to annex sovereign territory in Ukraine.