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British leader orders asset freeze for all Russian banks

BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would aim to cut Russia off from the U.K.’s financial markets as he announced a new set of sanctions in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions include freezing the assets of all major Russian banks, including VTB Bank, the nation’s second-biggest bank, Johnson said today. Britain also plans to bar Russian companies and the Russian government from raising money on U.K. markets.

Britain will also ban the export of a wide range of high-tech products, including semiconductors, to Russia and to prohibit the nation’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, from landing at U.K. airports.

The slate of sanctions comes days after Johnson was criticized for acting too cautiously in response to Russian aggression earlier this week.

In an address to the nation Tuesday afternoon, Johnson had promised a new round of sanctions in light of Russia’s “full-scale” invasion of Ukraine.

The U.K. says it is coordinating sanctions with the United States and European Union, but both of those entities introduced tougher measures than Britain earlier this week.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.K., Vadym Prystaiko, earlier called on world leaders to ban trade in Russian oil and gas and block foreign investment in the country.

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