The British government on Tuesday announced new sanctions targeting 22 foreign companies and individuals, among which are two Turkish companies, for exporting military supplies to Russia vital for its ongoing war against Ukraine, according to a press statement from the UK Foreign Ministry.
The statement, which describes the 25 new sanctions as the “largest ever UK action,” targets Russian President Vladimir Putin’s access to foreign military supplies and lists Turkish-based Turkik Union and Azu International as among those affected by the sanctions.
According to the statement, the two Turkish companies are exporting microelectronics to Russia that are essential for Russia’s military activity in Ukraine.
Azu International has already been sanctioned by Ukraine and the United States.
When the US Commerce Department for the first time in April sanctioned some Turkish companies as well as others for allegedly helping Russia evade sanctions, Azu International, which allegedly shipped foreign-origin electronics technology, including computer chips, to Russia, was one of them.
The company was established in March 2022, shortly after Russia launched its war on Ukraine.
Turkey has balanced its good relations with both Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded its neighbor in February 2022. It played a key role in a United Nations-backed deal reached in July 2022 to free up grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which expired last month.
Turkey also did not join Western sanctions against Russia despite being a member of NATO.
Trade between Turkey and Russia has increased since the Ukraine invasion despite Western sanctions, with hundreds of Russian companies having opened branches in Turkey, seen as a financial safe haven for Russians, to circumvent sanctions. Trade volume between the two countries climbed to $68.2 billion in 2022.
Some companies and individuals in Dubai, Slovakia and Switzerland have also been slapped with the new UK sanctions on the grounds that they are supporting the war on Ukraine.
The new sanctions are expected to damage Russia’s defense systems by cutting off Putin’s access to foreign military equipment.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the landmark sanctions will further diminish Russia’s arsenal and close the net on supply chains propping up Putin’s now-struggling defense industry.
“There is nowhere for those sustaining Russia’s military machine to hide,” he added.