The U.K. has sanctioned senior Russian commanders for their role in the military and the invasion of Ukraine, as well as Iranian businessmen and officials involved in the production and supply of drones to Moscow, the U.K. government announced on Dec. 13.
The list includes 12 senior Russian commanders, such as Major General Robert Baranov, “identified by a Bellingcat investigation as the commander of a unit responsible for programming and targeting Russian cruise missiles,” according to the announcement. Cruise missiles, as well as Iranian-supplied drones, are used by Russian forces to strike at energy infrastructure across Ukraine.
The U.K. government didn't provide details about the Iranian individuals sanctioned for their involvement in manufacturing and supplying drones to Russia.
"The U.S. released information showing Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers, sending hundreds of drones to Russia in violation of its international legal obligations, which have been used to attack Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and kill civilians," the statement reads.
All individuals are subject to U.K. asset freezing and a ban on entry into the U.K.
“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin wants to break Ukraine’s spirit, but he will not succeed. Ukraine will win, and Ukraine will rebuild,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in the statement.
Since Oct. 10, Russia has unleashed six mass strikes targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, killing dozens of civilians and causing emergency blackouts. Its most recent nationwide attack on Ukraine occurred on Dec. 5, killing four and hitting energy sites in at least three regions.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin claimed on Dec. 8 that Russia would continue launching mass attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid.
On Dec. 12, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he was “open-minded” about sending longer-range weapons to Ukraine if Russia continued attacking residential areas and civilian infrastructure.
The U.K. government earlier said that it had sanctioned over 1,200 individuals in Russia, including service members responsible for war crimes and atrocities.