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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been told by MPs to sanction Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and Everton backer Alisher Usmanov, both Russian oligarchs involved in English football, over human-rights abuses. 

Both Abramovich and Usmanov were named by detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny last week as people who should be targeted by Western governments in a bid to curb human-rights abuses by Vladimir Putin’s Russian state. They were described as ‘key enablers and beneficiaries of Russian kleptocracy, with significant ties and assets in the West’.

Navalny, a prominent face of the opposition towards the controversial Russian President, was detained at a Moscow airport earlier this month after spending five months in Germany recovering from nerve agent poisoning that he blames on Moscow.

His detention has been condemned by Governments around the world, with the UK and United States urging Russia to release him.

Labour former minister Dame Margaret Hodge and Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran backed the idea to impose sanctions on the likes of Abramovich and Usmanov on Wednesday and challenged the Government in the Commons to take action.

The Government has refused to speculate on future sanctions but Ministers do have the power to impose travel bans and freeze the financial assets of individuals involved in human rights abuses

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