UK sanctions have been imposed on Russian officials involved in “sham” elections in annexed Ukrainian territory.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the 11 new designations are in response to attempts by Russia to legitimise its illegal control of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.
Those sanctioned include: the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Russia; CEC official Natalya Budarina; Andrey Alexeyenko, who was appointed head of the so-called Kherson regional administration; and Marina Zakharova, appointed head of the so-called election commission in Kherson.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Russia’s sham elections are a transparent, futile attempt to legitimise its illegal control of sovereign Ukrainian territory.
“You can’t hold ‘elections’ in someone else’s country.
“The UK will never recognise Russia’s claims to Ukrainian territory – Crimea, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson are Ukraine.”
The sanctions include restrictions on movement and finances, the FCDO said.
The department also said the Ukrainian population living in the temporarily controlled territories has endured “large-scale atrocities at the hands of Russian forces”.
In October 2022, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that condemned Russia for the “illegal so-called referendums in regions within the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine” and the “attempted illegal annexation of the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia”.
The resolution declared the “unlawful actions” of Russia have “no validity under international law and do not form the basis for any alteration of the status of these regions of Ukraine” before urging Moscow to “immediately and unconditionally reverse its decisions”.