British MP: UK sanctions are failing to hamper Russia’s economy

10:10 01.05.2024 •

Dame Harriett Baldwin, MP.
Photo: FT

The head of the UK’s Treasury select committee has warned that western sanctions against Russia are failing to hamper its economy, as campaigners urged enforcement officials to take a tougher stance on blacklisted entities.

Dame Harriett Baldwin, Conservative chair of the committee, spoke out ahead of MPs launching oral evidence sessions to investigate the effectiveness of government designations against Moscow, writes ‘The Financial Times’.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Baldwin said: “There’s a general consensus that sanctions are not working in terms of their stated intent — causing real trouble for the Russian economy . . .  The IMF are forecasting it’s going to be one of the strongest economies this year.

Baldwin highlighted that the first raft of designations imposed after Russia launched its SMO in Ukraine in February 2022 were more than two years old.

“The longer sanctions are in place, the more ways people find to get around them, and it’s pretty obvious that patterns of trade are changing to allow exactly that,” she said.

The US-led oil price cap on Russia’s oil sales — one of the key western economic sanctions against Moscow — “is obviously not really working terribly effectively”, Baldwin noted, adding more work was needed to ensure the mechanism achieved its objectives.

The FT reported last November that the cap is being widely circumvented, according to western officials and Russian export data. A significant factor in Russia’s ability to counter the measures has involved building up a “shadow fleet” of ageing oil tankers to get around western markets.

Baldwin stressed the UK should seek to improve the effectiveness of its sanctions regime in tandem with the US, EU and other allies, rather than act unilaterally, but identified industries where Britain has a global leadership role and could do more.

The maritime and insurance sectors were “two areas where the UK has a particular locus, where we could potentially come up with some tightening” to better limit access by sanctioned entities and individuals, she said.


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