Skip to main content

Call for UK and EU to continue support for Ukraine, and sanctions on Russia

31 January 2024

The House of Lords European Affiars Committee calls for UK and EU to continue support for Ukraine, and sanctions on Russia, for as long as it takes to reverse Putin’s aggression in report published today.


The report is based on an inquiry undertaken between July and November 2023. The inquiry involved 7 oral evidence sessions, with a total of 22 witnesses.

The report

The report examines the long-term impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for UK-EU relations across four core themes:  

  • Cooperation on sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus; 
  • The UK-EU defence relationship; 
  • The reconstruction of Ukraine, including the use of frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine;  
  • Long term implications for the UK-EU foreign and security relationship.

Findings and recommendations 

Support for Ukraine

  • The Committee commends the coordinated response of the UK and of the EU and its Member States to Russian aggression against Ukraine, and urges the Government to continue to work with its European partners in providing military aid to Ukraine for as long as it takes to reverse Russian aggression.

Cooperation on sanctions

  • The Committee welcomes that the sanctions imposed by the UK, EU and US have been broadly aligned. But it is concerned at the growing evidence that Russia has been able to circumvent sanctions, including through third states and uninsured shadow tanker fleets, and calls for decisive action by the UK and its allies. The Report calls on the Government to set out specific examples of the action it is taking to enforce UK sanctions regimes. 

Sanctioned assets

  • The Committee find it incomprehensible that the promise made by sanctioned Russian businessman Roman Abramovich to use the proceeds from the sale of Chelsea FC to support Ukraine remains unfulfilled, and that the assets remain frozen. This reflects poorly on Mr Abramovich and the Government for failing to enter into a more binding commitment. The Committee urges the Government to use all available legal levers to solve this impasse rapidly so that Ukraine can receive much needed, promised, and long overdue relief. All of the funds should be spent in territories controlled by the Ukrainian Government. 

The UK-EU defence relationship

  • The Committee welcomes the leading role of the United Kingdom as the second largest supplier of military support for Ukraine. It is of the utmost importance that the Government work with its allies to ensure the continued supply of sufficient military support to Ukraine.
  • The Committee is concerned that any future reduction in US support for Ukraine, and for European security more widely, has the potential to leave Europe badly exposed. The UK, the EU and its member states should ensure that they are prepared for a scenario in which they may need to take on a greater share of the burden.

Long-term implications

  • While acknowledging the Foreign Secretary’s confirmation that flexible ad hoc arrangements for cooperation with the EU on Ukraine have worked well, the Committee continue to favour more structured arrangements for forward-looking cooperation between the UK and the EU on longer-term challenges such as policy towards China. The Government should approach the EU with a view to establishing such cooperation on major foreign and security policy issues. 

Chair's comments

Chair of the European Affairs Committee Lord Ricketts said: 

“The Government's work in response to Russia’s aggression so far should be commended, but there is more work to be done. A key priority for the Government must be to enforce sanctions that have been introduced and eliminate third-country circumvention. 

 “There is also a need to finally unlock frozen Russian assets to support the reconstruction of Ukraine, including the funds from the sale of Chelsea Football Club. It is incomprehensible that this has not happened yet. 

 “Finally, Ukraine has to continue to receive support for as long as it takes to reverse Russian aggression. The coming months will be critical and any reduction in US support could leave Europe badly exposed. The UK, EU and other European partners must be prepared for a scenario where they may need to take on a greater share of the burden.” 

Further information

Image: © Flag Store -