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Britain to Ban Exports of Luxury Goods to Russia

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Britain said on Tuesday it would ban the export of luxury goods to Russia and impose a new 35% tariff on 900 million pounds ($1.2 billion) worth of Russian imports, including vodka, metals, fertilisers and other commodities.

The move follows a series of economic sanctions announced by the government to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. Further sanctions against wealthy Russians are expected to be announced later on Tuesday.

"Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect," finance minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

Russia says it is carrying out a "special operation" to disarm and "denazify" Ukraine, which Kyiv and its allies call a baseless pretext to invade a democratic nation of 44 million people.

The government said the export ban would come into effect shortly and it would soon set out which products were affected, but added they would likely include high-end fashion, works of art and luxury vehicles.

Many British firms including carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin and luxury fashion label Burberry have already said they are temporarily shutting their outlets in Russia or suspending the supply of goods.

The government said the goods subject to an additional tariff of 35% had been chosen to minimise impact on Britain while maximising impact on the Russian economy.

The goods include iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, iron ore, residue/food waste products, beverages, spirits and vinegar glass and glassware, cereals, oil seeds, paper and paperboard, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish.

The government also said it was cutting off all export finance support to Russia and Belarus, meaning it will no longer issue any new guarantees, loans or insurance for exports. Existing British exposure to Russia through its export credit agency is around 100 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7677 pounds)

Reporting by William James, Editing by Kylie MacLellan, Paul Sandle and Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters

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