Rishi Sunak urges British companies to stop investing in Russia | Rishi Sunak

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Rishi Sunak called on British companies to stop investing in Russia, as he welcomed decisions by some companies, such as energy companies BP and Shell, as well as investment companies Aviva, M&G and Vanguard, to divest Russian assets.

These companies, among others, have announced their intention to reduce or sell their investments in Russia in recent days after its invasion of Ukraine, and the Chancellor has urged more British companies to consider joining.

Sunak said: “I welcome the commitments already made by a number of companies to divest Russian assets – and I want to make it abundantly clear that the government is supporting new signals of intent.

“I urge companies to think very carefully about their investments in Russia and how they might help the Putin regime – and I am also clear that there is no need for new investments in Russia. We must collectively go further in our mission to inflict maximum economic suffering – and to stop further bloodshed.

Sunak and Economy Secretary John Glen met fund managers and other finance figures last week to discuss British investment in Russia and welcomed the consensus among businesses on the need for economically isolate Putin and his regime.

This has led to large write-downs of Russian assets, with BP’s decision to sell its 20% stake in Russian state oil company Rosneft costing it up to $25bn (£19.1bn).

New York-based BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm with more than $10 billion in assets under management, posted losses of $17 billion on Russian stocks. It manages more than $18 billion in Russian assets on behalf of clients – which were frozen on February 28. The impact of Western sanctions on the markets, including the closure of the Moscow Stock Exchange for two weeks, rendered the vast majority of these assets unsaleable.

British bank HSBC is under public pressure to cut ties with Russian oil and gas companies, with some of its customers threatening to switch banks. When Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase became the first major U.S. banks to announce they would end their operations in Russia on Thursday, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, still refused to follow suit – for turn around a day later.

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The UK government has said it recognizes that some companies may find liquidating their positions a long-term process, given market conditions and the ability to sell assets due to global sanctions imposed on the Russian economy.

He said he was “working at pace to sanction more oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin.”

As prices for oil, gas, wheat and other commodities soared globally, threatening to deepen the cost of living crisis, the government pledged to “do everything what is in its power to protect consumers and the public”. He said he was already providing support worth £21billion this year and next, to help people with the cost of living, and would continue to monitor the economic impact of the conflict.

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