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EU imposes sanctions against Salisbury suspects

EU foreign ministers agree to impose sanctions on the leadership of the GRU, and Salisbury suspects.

21 January 2019

The Foreign Secretary has agreed, alongside his European counterparts, to impose sanctions on the leadership of the GRU and Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, the two GRU officers who have been charged with carrying out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury last year.

The Head and Deputy Head of the GRU, Igor Olegovich Kostyukov and Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev, have been listed, underlining the responsibility of the GRU in this reckless use of a chemical weapon in Salisbury.

The EU has also sanctioned The Scientific Studies and Research Centre, Tariq Yasmina, Khaled Nasri, Walid Zughaib, Firas Ahmed and Said Said, who have played a central role in the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against their own people.

The sanctions listings are the first under the new EU sanctions regime focussed on combatting the use of chemical weapons. The UK has been central to efforts to implement this new sanctions regime.

With this step, which was agreed today at the Foreign Affairs Council, the UK and EU have taken decisive action to deter the use of chemical weapons, wherever they may be used.

The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

"Today's new sanctions deliver on our vow to take tough action against the reckless and irresponsible activities of the Russian military intelligence organisation, the GRU, which put innocent British citizens in serious danger in Salisbury last year."

"We have also imposed sanctions on individuals and an organisation responsible for the Syrian regime's abhorrent use of chemical weapons over many years, including in Douma in April 2018."

"The UK has been at the vanguard of this EU action. We will continue to show our willingness to stand up for the international rules that keep us safe, and which the Kremlin and the Asad regime seek to undermine."


  • GRU is also known as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the GU, and the Main Directorate
  • following the European Council in March 2018, the UK supported the idea of a chemical weapons sanctions regime with European partners
  • the European Council conclusions in June 2018 agreed on the need to implement a chemical weapons sanctions regime 'as soon as possible'
  • on 5 September 2018, charges were brought in the UK against 2 Russian nationals (Ruslan BOSHIROV and Alexander PETROV) for conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal; the attempted murder of Sergei, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey, a UK police officer; use and possession of Novichok contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey
  • on 5 September 2018, the Prime Minister reconfirmed the UK's commitment to an EU chemical weapons sanctions regime
  • on 14 October 2018, the Foreign Secretary issued a statement urging the EU to press ahead with listings under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime
  • the chemical weapons sanctions regime was adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council in October 2018. The Foreign Secretary thanked eight of his European counterparts for their support and collaboration in equipping the EU with a new chemical weapons sanctions regime
  • the European Council conclusions in October 2018 looked forward to early progress on listings
  • on 6 November 2018, the Foreign Secretary tweeted that 'Russia and Syria must take responsibility and make chemical weapons a grim footnote of history. #NoToChemicalWeapons'

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