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Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 7) Regulations 2022

Volume 821: debated on Tuesday 26 April 2022

Considered in Grand Committee

Moved by

That the Grand Committee do consider the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 7) Regulations 2022.

Relevant documents: Instrument not yet reported by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. 36th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee

My Lords, I will also speak to the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 8) Regulations 2022. Copies of both sets of regulations were laid before this House on 30 March and 14 April 2022 respectively. They were laid under the powers provided by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, and came into effect under the “made affirmative” procedure. Together with our wider package of measures, these new powers ratchet up the pressure on Mr Putin, degrading his war machine and further isolating Russia. They target three areas, and I will cover each in turn.

The first area relates to technical assistance in relation to shipping and aviation. Put simply, these new tools stop oligarchs accessing their luxury toys and deprive them of the benefits of the UK’s world-leading aviation and maritime industries and engineers. We are targeting not only oligarchs’ businesses but their assets and international lifestyles. This new prohibition complements those already imposed on Russia’s shipping and aviation sectors. We are continuing to ramp up the pressure, working in tandem with our international partners and supported by commercial decisions taken by key industry players.

Secondly, this new legislation extends the financial, trade and shipping sanctions imposed in relation to Crimea, so that they now cover the non-government-controlled territory in Donetsk and Luhansk. These measures prevent British companies and individuals investing in companies operating in non-government-controlled territory or purchasing land in those regions. They also prohibit the export of infrastructure-related goods and services, as well as the import of any goods originating in non-government-controlled territory.

The extension of these measures will constrain Russia’s ability to make these areas economically viable, as the equivalent measures have done in Crimea. These measures will remain in place for as long as needed to ensure that Russia ceases its destabilising activities and withdraws its military from the territory of Ukraine.

The third and final power is that of designation by description. As the Government sharpen their measures against Mr Putin and his regime, this power enables us to designate groups of individuals and entities. The economic crime Act removed some of the constraints on the Government’s power to designate by description, offering the Government maximum flexibility in designating persons, such as members of political bodies, as a group rather than individually. This legislation now ensures that this power is available to the Government to deploy in respect of the Russia sanctions regime. This will help us to target our sanctions against members of defined political bodies such as the Russian Duma and Federation Council. This is the first time that a designation by description power has been included in a UK sanctions regime, and it underlines our commitment to exploring all options.

As my noble friend Lord Sharpe committed to in the previous Grand Committee debate on Russia sanctions legislation, we have also corrected errors made in SIs Nos. 3, 5 and 6. Noble Lords will be aware that, given the context of Russia’s invasion, legislation has had to be drafted at significant pace. We will continue to deliver further legislation at pace, working to minimise further errors.

The second set of regulations that I shall cover are the trade measures set out in the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 8) Regulations 2022. These measures are designed to constrain the Russian Government by disrupting the oil industry and other advanced industries that are critical to fuelling the Russian economy and Mr Putin’s regime. Through these measures, we have limited access to goods required by the Russian military-industrial complex to maintain and develop its capabilities. In addition, it is vital that we demonstrate to those supporting Russia’s behaviour that the United Kingdom recognises the role that they are playing and will hold them to account. That is why, further to our previous sanctions against oligarchs close to Putin, we have introduced a ban on the export of luxury goods. These regulations, developed in close co-ordination with our allies, will cut off Russian access to strategic supplies critical to key exporting markets, including in the energy sector, while increasing the economic pressure on Mr Putin’s regime.

Russia’s war against Ukraine is a barbaric attack on a sovereign democratic state, a point that we have all emphasised. It is an egregious violation of international law and the UN charter. The United Kingdom and our allies will continue to hold the Russian Government to account, including through sanctions and other economic measures. Those we have already imposed in co-ordination with our partners are having damaging and lasting consequences for Mr Putin’s regime. As I speak, 60% of its foreign currency reserves, worth more than £275 billion, are frozen. Our measures cutting off key revenue streams are also working. Russia is struggling to find buyers for its seaborne oil, which is threatening major export revenues.

This debate also follows our announcement last week of fresh sanctions against Mr Putin’s war leaders. We have imposed sanctions on key leaders in Russia’s army, targeting those commanding the front line to commit these heinous acts. We have also targeted individuals outside Mr Putin’s military who are actively supporting his illegal invasion of Ukraine. These include Oleg Belozyorov, the CEO and chairman of Russian Railways, and Ilya Kiva, the defecting and expelled Ukrainian MP, who has publicly supported Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

We will continue our co-ordinated action against Russia in partnership with our allies, and encourage more and more countries to join us and act together. Working together, we can have the biggest possible impact on Mr Putin and his regime and, one hopes, end this abhorrent war. I beg to move.

My Lords, I take this opportunity to thank my noble friend for introducing the regulations before us this afternoon, which I wholeheartedly support. I have two points of information that I would like to raise with him at this stage. On the first SI, No. 7, is he prepared to go further than the regulations before us this afternoon? I think that he was one of the Ministers I contacted about six months ago when there was a serious cyberattack on a transport firm in North Yorkshire. I was extremely disappointed at the time, although this is not a personal reflection on my noble friend, that I did not seem able to get any support for the company through normal channels such as Ministers like his good self and my noble friend Lord Grimstone.

I entirely endorse the thinking behind the regulations before us today, that we want to degrade the military effort of the Russians. I have no doubt whatever that these successful cyberattacks by a rogue state that is generally understood, in this case, to be Russia, have targeted a number of transport and infrastructure companies. Prior to that, they targeted a number of clothing companies. The one that is, perhaps, most significant, and is in the public domain, is FatFace, which I understand had to pay something like £1 million in ransom. I find it unacceptable that companies should be told that, at the moment, we do not have any means of counteracting these cyberattacks by hostile states such as Russia. I would like to understand where we are with this; if not today, because I have not given my noble friend any advance warning, I would welcome a written undertaking that could be shared by those contributing to the Committee this afternoon.

It is unacceptable that Russia has been able to fund its military aggression in Ukraine, and potentially also against countries such as Finland and Sweden, which are not part NATO, should they wish to apply to NATO. My reading of the situation is that the crime that Ukraine committed in the eyes of Russia and President Putin was in its wish to join the European Union and become a member of NATO. I declare an interest in Scandinavia, being half-Danish. If the Russian aggression goes as far as the Finnish border—which is huge, about 1,000 miles—if they were to be successful in Ukraine, and then had a full-frontal attack on either Finland or Sweden, that would be a very precarious position for the United Kingdom and our partners, and erstwhile previous allies in the European Union. That is in connection with SI No. 7. Can my noble friend update us on where we are in response to cyberattacks and in thwarting any attempt by a hostile state, such as Russia, to raise funds in that regard?

More briefly, on No. 8, I declare an interest in that I drive a diesel vehicle, which are heavily relied on in rural areas. In north Yorkshire and the north of England generally, diesel vehicles are vehicles of choice, particularly in inclement weather. We are not out of the woods yet; we may have a snowfall yet before spring is over. So, in bad weather—and also as a vehicle of choice for farming and off-road—we rely on diesel vehicles. I would like to understand the implications of targeting the fuel industry, to which my noble friend referred. I had no idea how dependent we are on Russia for our resources of diesel oil. I would like to understand what the alternative sources will be, and whether this will contribute to the ever-rising cost of diesel fuel.

I am grateful for the opportunity to raise my concerns, and I do support the regulations before us this afternoon.

My Lords, as always it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness and the very valid points that she raises. As someone who lives in and represented a rural area, I know that she speaks with great authority. We support these measures and, indeed, since we last debated, we have seen the continuing, grotesque practices of the Putin regime. It is now clearly in a strategic phase of seeking to demolish whole areas of Ukraine and make it virtually uninhabitable for the people. This is closer to what the President of the United States described as genocide. While I know that that has been debated frequently in this House in other contexts, it is starting to look increasingly like this is the practice of Putin. It reinforces the need for the urgent capture of evidence of the war crimes that he is permitting.

We also support the other measures and their corrections. I understand when the Minister says that they were moved at pace—but while they have been put forward at pace and we support them, there are certain elements where we have been behind our allies in these measures. On the Liberal Democrat Benches and on the Labour Benches, we have called for action to be stronger and sooner.

I was looking at the elements in the new measures on trade to prohibit the export, supply and delivery of quantum computing and materials-related goods and technology; making available and the transfer of oil-refining goods and technology; the export, supply and delivery and transfer of luxury goods; and the import, acquisition, supply and delivery of certain iron and steel products. In all those four categories, we have been behind our allies, who have moved much faster on them. While I welcome that we now have those mechanisms in place, it has been regrettable that trade has been able to be carried out from the UK when it had been prevented from some of our allies.

It is worth putting on record that I am grateful for the Government for the impact assessment that they have done on the trade elements, because that has potentially significant consequences for the United Kingdom. The Government’s best estimate is that the total cost is nearly £5.9 billion of luxury goods, so these are significant trading relationships. They are part of where we are, which is, in effect, in hybrid warfare. It is regrettable that we need to be in that place, but we are engaged in a degree of 21st-century warfare with Russia. Indeed, the Government’s own impact assessment says that the policy objective is for coercion of Russia

“by targeting longer-term economic interests”.

In effect, this is part of carrying out war.

There are some potential gaps on which I would like the Minister to respond, however. Of the 35 people named by Alexei Navalny, seven are yet to be sanctioned by the United Kingdom, 50 days on from the invasion. That is one in five. Mikhail Murashko, Dmitry Ivanov, Alexander Kalashnikov, Elena Morozova, Denis Popov, Igov Yanchuk and Ella Pamfilova have not been sanctioned by the UK, as I understand it. I would be grateful if the Minister could clarify the intentions with regard to those named by Alexei Navalny. I know that the Minister will say that he will not comment on individuals and the likelihood is that they will be individually sanctioned, but there are still some grey areas as to when the Government choose to sanction individuals and when not. I would like greater clarity on that.

Other oligarchs with significant interests in London have also remained free from sanctions, including the owner of a £50.5 million Grosvenor Square residence, described as Londongrad’s most fashionable residence. It is not the case that oligarchs have no place to hide, as the Foreign Secretary says. Regrettably, some still hide in plain sight with their properties in the United Kingdom. That is why it is even more important that the UK publishes in full its review on golden visas, commissioned over four years ago. We have been the oligarchs’ playground for too long now, and it is necessary to publish the review in full and for there to be total transparency. I hope that the Minister will outline when we will have the full information about the golden visas provided to those whom we now seek to sanction and whose trade we seek to restrict. Given that many of those have been operating in these areas of the general description of the sanctions, that is even more important.

I have two final points. The Minister has been aware of my call for the UK to go beyond the sanctions regime and use terrorism legislation to target those groups being used by the Kremlin, not only within the conflict in and illegal attacks on Ukraine but elsewhere, to deploy its destabilising impact in Chad, Mali, the Central African Republic, Sudan and elsewhere. The Wagner Group is, in effect, an arm of the Putin regime. It is carrying out what we would consider in other situations terrorist activities. Most worryingly, it is also operating with certain government and non-government actors. The proscription of the Wagner Group and those linked with it would not only send a signal from the UK but mean that our sanctions regime had teeth, because we would be proscribing the organisations that are working hard at the moment to circumvent that regime. This needs to be a higher crime.

Secretary-General Guterres has had what he described as frank discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov. I hope that the Secretary-General will have some platform to provide for further talks. That opportunity may seem slim, but we have to continue to support there being a resolution. We support, obviously, the military and intelligence of President Zelensky and his Government but also the good offices of the United Nations. It is time to question why the Russian ambassador is in post here. It is time to take reciprocal action, as others are doing, against Russian representatives when they fail to act appropriately with our diplomats.

My very final comment is that there are worrying signs in the breakaway Moldovan area of Transnistria, which could be other red-flag activities. While I support the UN and the efforts for discussion and dialogue, it is worrying that Putin is seeking to use the same tactics that there were at the start of this campaign against Ukraine and elsewhere. It means these efforts and this cross-party working needs to be strong within the United Kingdom to ensure that there is no impunity for any of these actions.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his introduction. As he said, as Putin continues his illegal war the tragic consequences for Ukraine and its people are mounting. From the beginning, we have fully supported the Government in their efforts to hold those responsible to account, and we will continue to do so by welcoming the new measures being debated today.

Over two months have now passed since the full invasion began and while today’s seventh and eighth packages are a step in the right direction it is vital, as the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, said, that the Government now lead the way in moving faster and harder on economic and diplomatic sanctions. In doing so, however, they should also reflect on and monitor the effectiveness of those which have already been implemented. I hope the Minister can explain how the department is analysing the effect of sanctions brought forward since the invasion. Is he able to share any data on this with the Committee?

The Government have previously estimated that the value of sanctioned assets is around 60% of Russia’s foreign currency reserves. I hope the Minister can explain to the Committee exactly what steps the department is taking to monitor this. Is that information being calculated and shared with our allies?

I turn to the specific sanctions before the Committee. The No. 7 regulations extend existing sanctions on Crimea to the area of the Donbass. I am pleased that the Government are taking action to prevent occupied territories becoming economic enablers for the invasion. However, given that Putin recognised the illegal regimes in these areas many months ago, I hope the Minister can explain the delay in the introduction of the sanctions. As he told us, as part of the No. 7 regulations, the Government are extending them to shipping. But the Minister in the other place, James Cleverly, was unable to confirm whether this means that all state shipping companies, as well as Russian-flagged vessels, are now sanctioned. I hope the noble Lord can clarify that this afternoon.

I am pleased that the Government are introducing the No. 8 sanctions, which focus on a variety of goods, as he indicated, including luxury items and technology as well as iron and steel products. However, questions remain over the time it has taken to close these loopholes. In addition, the Explanatory Memorandum notes that these sanctions are also intended to correct a series of defects, as the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, indicated. I hope the Minister can expand on the effect of the defects and on what impact they may have had.

As the Minister said, it is important that we explore all options. It would be good if we could hear from him exactly how we can act against those who act as proxies for individuals and organisations in order for them to bypass sanctions. The US has implemented such laws and it would be good to see how they will be impacted. Enforcement is crucial to making sanctions work, and the Minister has repeatedly said that this means acting in concert with our allies, but it is also about ensuring that we have sufficient resources to do the job that Parliament asked the Government to undertake. James Cleverly said yesterday that increasing staffing levels in this area is not easy, but he assured my honourable friend Stephen Doughty that Ministers have tripled the number of people working in enforcement at the FCDO since January. I hope the noble Lord can tell us what tripling means. What are the precise numbers involved? The drafting and development of the sanctions packages are separate from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation and other bodies involved in enforcement. I hope the noble Lord can tell us this afternoon that resourcing has gone up in both the development of policy and the enforcement bodies.

The Minister previously assured us about the application of sanctions in the UK’s overseas territories and Crown dependencies. Can he tell us what discussions the Government have had with them to ensure the effective enforcement of sanctions across all jurisdictions? He and the Government will continue to have the support of these Benches in bringing forward sanctions and new designations, but I hope that further steps will be taken in the next Session to reflect the immense bravery shown by the people and political leaders of Ukraine.

I hope the Minister will not mind me, like the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, seeking an update on a number of other issues not strictly related to sanctions. One is the humanitarian support that we give. The Government have admitted that only one-third of the £220 million pledged had been delivered by 1 April. Will the Minister explain the barriers to the full amount of promised humanitarian aid being delivered? Will he tell us a bit more about what we are doing to support Ukraine’s neighbours in dealing with the influx of arrivals fleeing the war? I know that the Minister has been focused on the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative and that we have a ministerial conference coming up. One of the most horrendous pieces of evidence we have seen has been the use of rape as a weapon of war in Ukraine. Will he update us on what support we are able to give not only in gathering the evidence of such crimes against humanity but in supporting the victims of such shocking crimes?

I also hope that the Minister can tell us a bit more about what we are doing to help clear landmines and unexploded ordnance. In particular, why are the Government cutting support to NGOs which provide that essential humanitarian support?

Finally, as we have asked on previous occasions, the Government are supporting the ICC investigation into war crimes, so can the Minister update us a bit more on what support that is delivering and whether he thinks we have explored all possible means to ensure that those who commit these crimes are held fully to account?

My Lords, I first express my gratitude to all three noble Lords who have spoken—my noble friend Lady McIntosh and the noble Lords, Lord Purvis and Lord Collins, on behalf of the Opposition and the Liberal Democrats—for their strong and solid support of the Government’s approach to sanctions. I must admit, when I was given the responsibility of Sanctions Minister, I did not imagine the number of sanctions we would issue in this respect, but that shows the nature of the crisis. I am grateful for noble Lords’ support for the various steps we have taken.

I will first address some of the specific questions that have arisen. On timing, we are working at pace, as I am sure the noble Lords, Lord Purvis and Lord Collins, who raised this issue, accept. At the same time, I appreciate noble Lords’ support for the amendments and changes we have had to make to the governance structures to allow urgent procedures to be implemented for sanctions. That has certainly helped us move far more quickly and allowed the sanctions to be imposed in the quickest manner possible and, as the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, suggested, in a complementary fashion to those of the partners we are working with, notably the United States and the European Union.

While I will not go into how many sanctions the EU has vis-à-vis the US, ourselves or other partners, I assure both noble Lords that we are working very much in tandem and consolidating with our partners to ensure that we continue to sanction individuals. As an aside, to draw a comparison with a separate issue within the Balkans, we recently sanctioned Minister Dodik, a Serbian member of the tripartite presidency. I assure noble Lords that the teams are working at pace and we are ensuring that we keep a specific eye on the wider impacts of the invasion of Ukraine. I will continue to update noble Lords as far as possible in advance of the measures we are taking, as I have done previously. I am grateful to both noble Lords for their co-operation in this respect. The noble Lord, Lord Purvis, mentioned specific names. While he is quite right that I cannot comment specifically, for obvious reasons, nothing and no individual is off the table in the actions we will take and have already taken quite directly.

My noble friend rightly raised cyberattacks, cybersecurity and the challenges they pose. First and foremost, the minds of Her Majesty’s Government are very much alive to cyber, but not just based on what is happening today in Ukraine. We have been monitoring it very closely, not just enhancing our security and capabilities but ensuring that we are fully prepared to deal with cyberattacks. They have increased, and there are a number of actors who commit them. We have increasingly called them out over the last few years, repeatedly in partnership and association with our key partners.

I ask the noble Baroness to write to me reminding me of the details of the particular case that she raised, and I apologise on behalf of whichever part of government that response should have come from. Equally, I reassure her that we are taking specific actions and measures, defensively and in tandem with our partners, to identify and call out cyberattacks. All I will say at this stage about our cyber capabilities is that I have seen the National Cyber Security Centre and it is very much state of the art. As I say, I will take up my noble friend’s offer and ask her to write to me with further details specific to her question.

My noble friend also talked about the rising cost of diesel fuel, the measures that we have taken and what they mean for the UK economy and for consumers specifically. Any measures that we take have an impact. This does not relate to energy specifically, but there is an exemption for food exports, for example. However, Russia is choosing not to use that provision and export. The narrative that is then built, of course, is that it is the sanctions that are causing the food security issues. This was directly on people’s minds on a recent visit to north Africa, Egypt in particular.

All the sanctions that we are undertaking will have a cost, but we carry out detailed impact assessments before any measure is taken. Has there been a rise in fuel costs at the pumps? Of course there has. It is a global response to the challenge we are facing. However, the UK has been on the front foot in looking at our own energy security and energy supply and how we can adopt more sustainable measures. On the specific sanctions that we have imposed on this occasion, I direct my noble friend to the impact assessment, but if there are any more specific details I will include them in the letter that I will write to her.

The noble Lord, Lord Collins, rightly asked whether the sanctions were having any impact on Russia. The short answer is that they are. Sanctions imposed by the UK and its international partners are having quite damaging consequences for Russia and its ability to wage war. As an example, £275 billion of Russia’s foreign currency reserves—60%—is currently frozen. Russian seaborne oil is struggling to find buyers, which is threatening the stability of its export revenues. Sanctions have also hastened an interesting element: a Russian brain drain. A Russian IT association estimates that 50,000 to 70,000 computer specialists have already left the country, with another 100,000 personnel expected to leave in April despite travel restrictions. Estimates for Russia’s GDP growth in 2022 now range from minus 8.5% to minus 15%. I hope that information helps to answer the noble Lord’s question about whether these sanctions have an impact. Yes they do, and he and I share the same thought: that they are having a particular impact because we are bringing them in conjunction with our key partners and allies.

The other question was whether these sanctions were having an impact on the ground, particularly in Russian minds. It is important to demonstrate to those supporting Russia’s behaviour that the UK recognises the role they are playing, and since the start of the war they have seen how we have increased the pressure not just on those who are directly involved with the Ukrainian invasion but on Russian institutions and Russian individuals. That is clearly understood, and by targeting Mr Putin’s closest allies we are isolating them on the world stage, thereby impacting their ability to influence decision-making.

The noble Lord, Lord Purvis, talked of the visit today of Secretary-General Guterres, whom I have met directly on a couple of occasions specific to this crisis. During my last visit to the UN Security Council two weeks ago I met Rosemary DiCarlo, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. I emphasised that of course it is important to reach a peaceful negotiation; the impediment was Russia’s lack of direct engagement with the Secretary-General. We saw that again in the press conference, with Mr Lavrov attempting to change the narrative, but from what I saw today the Secretary-General sought to correct that narrative quite directly at the press conference. It is also important to see that engagement that would take place with President Zelensky in Kyiv. I have also been directly stressing the point that we are a P5 member, as is France, and it is important that the Secretary-General ensures that appropriate briefings are arranged with partners, including the US as another P5 member, and Brussels itself with our EU partners. I will update noble Lords in that respect.

The noble Lord, Lord Collins, raised the issue of the support that we are extending to the International Criminal Court. We have already allocated £1 million directly to the prosecutor, and we have extended support through technology and people; we have appointed Sir Howard Morrison directly to support the prosecutor in Ukraine. I was in Germany recently; our German friends have also now allocated €1 million to the prosecutor’s office, and we are working closely with the ICC to establish exactly what the requirements are. As this support increases, I will continue to update noble Lords.

There is an important lesson here as well. The Ukrainian crisis has shown how we have come together. The ability to stand up this investigation very early on has resulted in support directly for the prosecutor’s role rather than after the event. During a live crisis we are already into the area of collecting evidence and ensuring that it can be sustained and presented to The Hague and to the prosecutor’s office at the earliest time.

I will share another element with noble Lords. We are working closely with key neighbouring partners; for example, I visited Poland recently, as did colleagues including the Foreign Secretary. We are co-ordinating very much the same approach in a structured form of working together to provide any information we can to the prosecutor’s role.

The noble Lord, Lord Collins, raised the issue of humanitarian support. We have allocated £220 million and have already distributed well over half of that directly to agencies on the ground. He talked of early April. I am in the midst of completing and signing off on an updated WMS which I and the Foreign Secretary are finalising, and we hope to share the detail of that very soon. However, we are working hand in glove with the Ukrainian Government. Noble Lords will know that they have appointed a particular humanitarian co-ordinator, and the humanitarian envoy Nick Dyer recently met the Ukrainian lead and co-ordinator during his visit to Lviv in Ukraine.

On genocide, an issue mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, we need to take encouragement. The Government’s position does not change—that it is for a court to make that adjudication. However, the fact that the prosecutor has engaged early sets the tone for what may or may not emerge from that.

The noble Lord, Lord Collins, rightly talked about the absolutely abhorrent nature of rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war and asked specifically about some of the measures we have taken. I can share a very live issue with noble Lords. After the event that I chaired at the UN Security Council, where we were honoured to have the absolutely courageous and exemplary Nadia Murad give evidence to us as a briefer, we launched the Murad code, which allows for a structured way of collecting evidence of sexual violence, rape and other such crimes to ensure that it meets the threshold for a successful prosecution. Too often, tragically, victims of sexual violence have to give repeated testimonies, which itself dilutes their ability to reach a successful prosecution. We have not only launched the Murad code; over the last two weeks we have specifically developed and yesterday completed its Ukrainian translation, and we are working with other authorities to see how quickly we can make that available to every person crossing the border. For example, we used a QR code to talk through the detail of some of our schemes, and I have directed officials to look at whether we can use that same QR code to share information on the Murad code directly, particularly with women crossing the border from Ukraine.

The noble Lord, Lord Purvis, also asked about individuals and about Alexei Navalny. We are following this very closely. As I said, I cannot comment on specific designations going forward, but we are looking at all individuals and indeed the particular group—the Wagner Group—which was designated on 24 March. We also took action against specific individuals within the Wagner Group. We will continue to develop further ways and measures to respond to Mr Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The issue of the review of golden visas is of course led by the Home Office, but I have noted this. The noble Lord has raised this issue repeatedly and I can say is that it is looking to publish on that in due course, and I will follow up to see if I can get further details. Of course, when we impose sanctions, a visa—whatever its nature, golden, silver or bronze—is impacted quite directly. The ability to travel and assets associated with that individual are directly impacted.

The noble Lord, Lord Purvis, also talked about the use of terrorist legislation on groups that are identifiable. I have already talked about the particular group he mentioned. However, as I said, the Government are working across all departments to ensure that any levers available to us can be exercised in a manner that most quickly and effectively holds those individuals or organisations supporting Mr Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine to account.

The noble Lord, Lord Collins, also talked about landmines and support there. I can assure him, because we are working very closely with the Ukrainian Government and are in contact at the highest level, including through my right honourable friend talking directly with President Zelensky, that any requirements they have—technical, financial, military, humanitarian support—are met directly. That includes anything required for the clearance of landmines; we extend full support in that regard as well.

The noble Lord also talked about measures relating to transport, specifically Russian-flagged vessels. If I may I will write on the detail of that. On the staffing issue, I say yes, we have trebled it, and I can share figures with him in writing. In terms of increasing numbers, we are also deploying experts. In light of recent developments in Ukraine, he also asked about enforcement. The number of people working in the OFSI to ensure effective implementation has been increasing. My right honourable friend the Chancellor has also said, quite specifically, that we will continue recruiting in this respect, because it is a major area of our work at the current time. The numbers are evolving but increasing. Of course, the specialists that we are trying to deploy are across the piece so, if we need legal experts, we may need to second more people into the team. I assure all noble Lords that the issue of sanctions, and particularly of sanctions when it comes to Russia, is a priority. We will continue to resource all levels of both application and enforcement in the most effective manner we can.

I trust I have covered the questions raised.

Sorry. Yes, we are working very closely with overseas territories. All the measures are applied quite directly through orders in council, apart from in two overseas territories that legislate directly for themselves. I believe that is Gibraltar and Bermuda, but they are working very closely to the same effect. Our teams and our overseas territories team are working very closely with the OTs on specific applications. Again, if I may, specifically on the application of these sanctions and the result or reports received from the OTs, I will share that with the noble Lord in writing.

I trust I have answered all the questions asked. I will of course write where appropriate. I thank noble Lords once again for their specific questions and, most importantly, for the strong support that we continue to see on the important issue of Russian sanctions. I commend these regulations to the Committee.

Motion agreed.