Government encourages UK businesses to stop investing in Russia

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned British businesses to “think very carefully” before investing in Russia.

According to the Chancellor, there is “no case” for any new investment in Russia, as the UK prepares for further sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, designed to “inflict maximum economic pain.”

Large British businesses, including BP, Shell and Centrica, have already announced their plans to stop ventures in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Centrica said earlier this month that it would leave its gas supply agreements with Gazprom and other Russian counterparts.

BP and Shell are also cutting their links to Russia following the invasion. British American Tobacco also announced plans to sell its Russian business, and Imperial Brands is halting cigarette production at its Russian factory, along with all sales and marketing activities in Russia.

Welcoming the decisions by British businesses to divest, the Chancellor 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 warning follows a meeting last week between the Chancellor and business leaders to discuss UK investment in Russia.

The Treasury confirmed that the government recognises it may take a long time to wind down Russian investments, in some cases.

The ability to sell Russian assets is currently constrained by sanctions and the closure of investment markets.

The Treasury also said the government would do what it can to support businesses that want to sell out of their Russian investments.