Policy paper

Deter, disrupt and demonstrate – UK sanctions in a contested world: UK sanctions strategy

This strategy sets out the UK government’s approach to using sanctions to address global threats, promote international norms and protect the UK.



The world has become more dangerous and uncertain, with hostile states, malign non-state actors and many entrenched problems. Sanctions are an important tool the UK, our allies and the wider international community can use to respond. Our carefully-deployed sanctions are addressing malign activity and making a difference. This includes disrupting Russia’s war machine, confronting cyber gangs that target the UK and addressing human rights abuses and violations in Iran.

In recent years, we have built up our sanctions capabilities, strengthening significantly our approach since the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 gave the UK government autonomous sanctions powers.

This strategy explains how we use sanctions as a foreign and security policy tool and the continued investment, partnerships and structures that support our sanctions.

Published 22 February 2024