Britain said on Wednesday that it has confiscated a jet linked to a Russian billionaire as part of new aviation restrictions that allow authorities to hold any Russian aircraft and prohibit the shipment of aviation and space-related items to Russia.
It is now a criminal crime for anybody to fly or land in the United Kingdom as a result of the steps to tighten action against Russian aircraft.
The prohibition will apply to any aircraft owned, operated, or chartered by anybody related to Russia or specified individuals or businesses, as well as the right to detain any aircraft owned by Russians, according to the Foreign Office.
One aircraft has already been held at Farnborough Airport in southern England, according to Transport Minister Grant Shapps, until additional investigations are carried out.
According to a British government source, the private plane was related to Eugene Shvidler, a rich business partner of Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich. Shvidler could not be reached for comment right away.
"We know that it isn't a Russian company that holds the aircraft, it's rather a Luxembourg-registered aircraft. We are carrying out further checks before releasing it," Shapps told LBC radio.
The transport ministry said it was working with the Civil Aviation Authority to confirm the specifics of the Global Plane Luxembourg-registered jet.
"Banning Russian flagged planes from the UK and making it a criminal offence to fly them will inflict more economic pain on Russia and those close to the Kremlin," foreign minister Liz Truss stated.
The foreign office said it will introduce new legislation on Wednesday to carry out the measures, which include the ability to remove planes belonging to sanctioned Russian persons and businesses from the British aviation registry.
Exports of aviation and space-related products, such as insurance and reinsurance, will be prohibited under the new restrictions.
Current policies would lose coverage, and British-based insurers and reinsurers will be unable to pay claims on existing policies in these industries, according to the statement.
(Inputs from Reuters)