Grant Shapps takes aim at Russian aviation and shipping

Sean Doyle, the British Airways chief, said that the closure of Russian airspace would have a minimal impact on profits.

While airlines will burn more fuel avoiding Russia, they will save on its overflight charges, some of the most expensive globally. Most BA flights will be unaffected.

The UK’s impounding of a private jet at Farnborough airport on Wednesday marked the latest escalation between transport ministries in London and Moscow.

Mr Shvidler founded oil trading company Runicom alongside Mr Abramovich in 1995 before taking control of oil giant Sibneft.

The seizure of the aircraft, suspected to be owned by Mr Shvidler came just 24 hours before Mr Abramovich’s UK assets, including football club Chelsea, were frozen by the Government.

London-based oligarchs scrambled to leave London following Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of Feb 24. It is understood that London City airport thwarted attempts by a handful of Russians to jet off.

Meanwhile, Mr Putin’s oligarchs also sought to escape Europe by sailing their yachts to countries where sanctions are not being applied.

Russia, meanwhile, last week released draft legislation allowing the Kremlin to seize control of hundreds of foreign-owned commercial jets. The move risks triggering billions of pounds in insurance claims for policies that were written by Lloyd’s of London firms.

Mr Shapps said: “We cannot stand idly by while Vladimir Putin tramples over a sovereign, democratic country, laying waste to homes and hospitals. That is why the Government has deployed an unprecedented range of sanctions against Russia.

“I am doing all in my power to cripple Russia’s aviation and shipping sectors. The state airline, Aeroflot, has been banned from UK airspace, together with all other Russian-owned, chartered or operated aircraft. At the same time, Russian freighters and tankers have been denied access to our ports.

“And I’m going after the oligarchs who support Putin. If they dock their superyachts in the UK, we’ll seize them; if they land their private jets here, we’ll impound them.”

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