Russian businesses should be prepared for the United Kingdom toughening sanctions after Brexit, according to Sergey Belyaev, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second European Department.
"We would like to alert representatives of Russian businesses to statements made by UK officials about London's intentions to coordinate its sanctions policy toward Russia after Brexit with the EU and with the US, and that there will be tougher sanctions. This is something [business owners] should prepare for", Belyaev said.
The official added that Russia would maintain its position of reciprocity in the future, meaning it would respond in kind to policies its partners extended toward it.
Toughening sanctions against Russia could also potentially cause a chain reaction of investors leaving the UK, which could undermine London's position as an international financial hub, he said.
Belyaev also said that Russia and the United Kingdom are working on introducing adjustments to their trade regime after London's withdrawal from the European Union, scheduled for January 31, 2020.
"We understand that there will be a need to introduce a number of adjustments into the existing regime of trade between Russia and the UK after Brexit. Obviously, if we want to approach the matter seriously, we and the British should sit down and study, at the expert-level, what consequences Brexit will have for our economic relations. Relevant effort is already being made," he said.
According to him, bilateral Russia-UK and Russia-EU expert consultations were held from 25-26 September at the World Trade Organisation on distributing London's and Brussels' tariff quotas after Brexit.
Apart from trade, some matters related to transport should be discussed, including commercial navigation, previously regulated by EU norms, according to the diplomat.
The UK and Russia should also discuss Brexit's possible influence on Russian companies working at the London Stock Exchange, Belyaev added.
This comes amid a report by the UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) that pointed to alleged Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, but “could not say if it had affected the result of the 2016 vote.”