Rishi calls on firms to stop investing in Russia

Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Creative Commons License.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has called on UK firms to “think very carefully” about any investments that would support the Putin regime, in the wake of his illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Sunak welcomed commitments from firms such as BP, Shell, Aviva, M&G and Vanguard, who have announced their intention to reduce or sell holdings in Russia in recent days.

And in a bid to ensure Putin and his regime feel maximum economic pain, he said there was no argument for new investment in the Russian economy from UK firms.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi 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 and Economic Secretary met with asset managers and owners last week to discuss UK investment in Russia – and welcomed the consensus on the need to economically isolate Putin and his regime.

The Chancellor’s call is part of the government’s strategy to hold Putin to account and to send a clear message that the invasion will come at a huge economic cost to Russia.

The government says it recognises that some firms may find winding down their positions is a long-term process, given market conditions and the ability to sell assets due to the global sanctions placed on the Russian economy. However, the Chancellor has been clear about the value of the strong signal of intent made by many firms to date, and said the government would do all it could to stand behind and support businesses who want to divest.

The UK has worked with allies to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia. This includes designating more than 300 individuals and entities at the heart of Putin’s regime, freezing tens of billions of pounds in assets, and working at pace to sanction more oligarchs with close links to the Kremlin.

The Prime Minister has also been clear that there will be impacts, and said the government must do everything they can to protect consumers and the public.

The government have said they are already providing support worth around £21 billion during this year, and next, to help people with the cost of living and they will continue to monitor the economic impact of the conflict and keep our approach under review.

Source: HM Treasury

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