‘Think carefully’ about Russian investments, Sunak warns businesses

The Chancellor said further action must be taken collectively to ‘inflict maximum economic pain’ on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

13 March 2022

British firms should “think very carefully” about making any investments in Russia which would support Vladimir Putin’s regime, the Chancellor has said.

Rishi Sunak warned there is “no case” for new investment in Russia as he said further action must be taken collectively to “inflict maximum economic pain”.

Major UK firms including BP, Shell and Centrica have announced plans to cut ties with Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

Mr Sunak said: “I welcome commitments already made by a number of firms to divest from Russian assets – and I want to make it crystal clear that the Government supports further signals of intent.

“I am urging firms to think very carefully about their investments in Russia and how they may aid the Putin regime – and I am also clear that there is no case for new investment in Russia.

“We must collectively go further in our mission to inflict maximum economic pain – and to stop further bloodshed.”

The Chancellor met business leaders last week to discuss UK investment in Russia and has welcomed consensus on the need to economically isolate Mr Putin and those close to him, the Treasury said.

It said the Government recognises that winding down Russian investments may be a long-term process for some firms due to market conditions and the ability to sell assets when sanctions have been placed on the Russian economy.

The Treasury added that the Government will do what it can to support businesses that want to divest.

A growing list of UK firms have announced plans to halt operations or divest assets in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Among them is British Gas owner Centrica, which said earlier this month that it will leave its gas supply agreements with Russian counterparts, including Gazprom.

A number of other UK energy companies, including BP and Shell, have moved to sever their ties to Russia due to the ongoing conflict, while British American Tobacco (BAT) announced that it will offload its Russian business.

Cigarette maker Imperial Brands, which has its headquarters in Bristol, has said it is pausing production at its factory in Volgograd, alongside all sales and marketing activity in the country.

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