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Russian airlines hit with new sanctions as UK targets Putin’s economy

A Aeroflot Airlines Boeing 737 plane lands at Heathrow Airport in West London (PA)
A Aeroflot Airlines Boeing 737 plane lands at Heathrow Airport in West London (PA)

The UK has tightened sanctions on Russian airlines, preventing the sale of landing slots at British airports worth around £50 million.

This latest measure aimed at stifling the flow of cash to Vladimir Putin’s economy will hit national carrier Aeroflot, along with Ural and Rossiya Airlines.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Every economic sanction reinforces our clear message to Putin – we will not stop until Ukraine prevails.”

Russian airlines had already been banned from the UK as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

They will now be blocked from selling off the unused landing slots they have.

Ms Truss said: “As long as Putin continues his barbarous assault on Ukraine, we will continue to target the Russian economy.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK was one of the first nations to implement sanctions on Putin and his allies; we forbade entrance to their ships and planes, strangling them of the privilege to benefit from global trade and commerce.

“Today, the UK Government has built on the strong action  we have already taken against Russia’s flagship carrier Aeroflot, along with Rossiya and Ural Airlines.

“This means they will be unable to use their expensive landing slots at UK airports. Our actions will also prevent Russia from selling the slots, and cashing in on up to £50 million.”

Meanwhile, a British defence intelligence update suggested a culture of cover-ups and scapegoating was hampering the Russian military effort in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence said a number of senior Russian commanders deemed to have performed poorly had already been fired.

“A culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system,” the MoD said.

“Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational setbacks.

“This will likely place further strain on Russia’s centralised model of command and control, as officers increasingly seek to defer key decisions to their superiors. It will be difficult for Russia to regain the initiative under these conditions.”

In Ukraine, the Russian military said more Ukrainian fighters who were holed up in Mariupol have surrendered.

It brings the total who have left the steel works where they were holding out to 1,730, while the Red Cross said it had registered hundreds of them as prisoners of war.

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