LONDON(AFP)- The UK government sanctioned billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov and former deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov on Thursday as retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The couple, who are worth a total of $19 billion (£14 billion) and have “major interests in the UK and close relations to the Kremlin,” have been “sanctioned with immediate effect,” according to the Foreign Office.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated that the sanctions send a “clear message” that “we will punish billionaires and anybody intimately associated with Putin’s government.”

Since Moscow’s invasion, the UK has been pursuing Russian oligarchs, adding 13 to its list, bringing the total to 15.

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