Russian aerospace firms blocked from UK insurance market

Britain says the move is part of efforts to isolate Russia's economy from the international financial system

The Russian rocket scheduled to take OneWeb satellites into space is lifted to a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo: Reuters

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The UK is to block Russian aviation and space companies from the London insurance market in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury announced on Thursday.

Britain will introduce legislation to ban UK-based insurance and reinsurance providers from making deals connected a Russian entity or for use in Russia. It said further details of the legislation would be available soon.

London is a key player in the global insurance market and the move is aimed at further isolating Russia’s economy from the international financial system.

It follows a series of measures imposed by the UK, EU and US, including blocking Russian banks from the Swift financial network and targeting the assets of oligarchs seen as close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“Through Lloyd’s and the London Market, the UK is a world leader in these sectors of the global insurance market,” the ministry said.

“In taking such action, the UK is demonstrating its commitment to apply severe economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The move came as British satellite company OneWeb said on Thursday it was suspending all launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The suspension came after Russia demanded that the UK government sell its stake in the satellite start-up, threatening to cancel a launch planned for Saturday at the Russian-owned cosmodrome if it did not.

The Kremlin space agency Roscosmos had also demanded assurances that the satellites would not be used for military purposes.

The UK paid £400 million ($533m) for a stake in OneWeb in 2020 as part of a survival package with Bharti Global telecoms of India.

Updated: March 03, 2022, 11:50 AM