'We can't -- in all good conscience -- pretend that it isn't hurting our people and harming our businesses,' London Mayor Sadiq Khan will say of Brexit, in a speech to political and business leaders
London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Image: AFP AFP News

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants the government to confiscate and sell UK properties owned by Russians linked to Vladimir Putin.

Khan called for the sale of these assets in a letter to Housing Secretary Michael Gove. He revealed that these assets were worth about £1.1 billion.

In the letter, Khan said that the ministers must "urgently act to seize property that has been bought by Putin's cronies, so we can use the proceeds of this for the benefit of those in need".

A report by City Hall suggests that selling these properties could help the government construct 4,000 low-cost homes. Khan's call comes days after the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, the mayor pledged to "do all he can" to show Britain's support for Ukraine. Around 200,000 Ukrainians have moved to the UK since its invasion.

"Every day London stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We will continue to stand side-by-side with you in the face of this barbaric oppression and I will do all I can to support and stand up for Ukrainians who have sought refuge in our city," the mayor wrote in a Twitter post.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron also made similar calls, stating that frozen Russian assets should be seized to help Ukraine.

The UK has imposed numerous sanctions on Russia and entities/people linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The government has sanctioned as many as 2000 people and entities in the last two years.

The number of goods imported to the UK from Russia has fallen by a staggering 94 per cent. Exports from the UK to Russia have also fallen significantly. The UK government announced more than 50 new sanctions targeting individuals and businesses to mark two years since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The new sanctions target metals, diamonds, the energy trade, and firms manufacturing munitions such as rocket launch systems, missiles, explosives, and other critical goods used in military equipment, per a statement by the government.

Russian firms that have been targeted under the current sanctions include diamond companies, oil trader Niels Troost and his company Paramount Energy & Commodities SA, Beks Ship Management, and Active Shipping.

"Our international economic pressure means Russia cannot afford this illegal invasion. Our sanctions are starving Putin of the resources he desperately needs to fund his struggling war," said Foreign Secretary Cameron while announcing the sanctions last month.

"Together, we will not let up in the face of tyranny. We will continue to support Ukraine as it fights for democracy- for as long as it takes," he added.

The additional limitations will continue to deprive Russia of the products that it can use in an attack against Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the G7 countries have also pledged to impose sanctions on Russia to extend their support to Ukraine. The G7 group, which consists of countries like Germany, France, Japan, the UK, Canada, Italy, the United States, and the European Union, committed to thecause on the second anniversary of Moscow's invasion.

In a virtual meeting last month, the group also called on Iran to stop helping Russia's military. The meeting was hosted by Giorgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy.

"We will continue to raise the cost of Russia's war, degrade Russia's sources of revenue and impede its efforts to build its war machine," read a statement released by the group. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the meeting and urged for more support as it continues to fight Russia.

"You know very well all we need to keep our sky protected, to strengthen our military on the land, and you know all we need to sustain and continue our success in the sea," he said.

"And you know perfectly well that we need all this in time, and we count on you," he added.