Regulator issues warning to UK charities operating in Russia

The Charity Commission has warned charities operating in Russia that they “may come under increasing pressure” due to sanctions, following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has encountered widespread international condemnation following its attack on Ukraine, which is causing a humanitarian crisis as people seek refuge in neighbouring countries and troops lay siege to cities.

Sanctions have included curbs on Russia’s ability to trade in the international banking system.

The regulator’s chief executive Helen Stephenson said that UK charities in Russia are set to face difficulties transferring fund and “because of the operating environment for civil society in that country”.

In addition, Stephenson urged charities to ensure they “know their donors, and consider whether or not to accept donations, including where there may be a reputational implication for them doing so”.

“There will be other implications for charities, both short and long term, that we cannot yet predict,” she said.

“The Commission will remain alive to the issues and risks facing charities, and we encourage charities to do likewise.

“We will promote or update our guidance as needed. We want to help support charities, which play such a vital role in our society, to get it right and make the biggest impact possible.”

Safe giving

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have also urged the British public to “give safely” to registered charities supporting victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They have reiterated guidance to check the registration of charities, be careful responding to emails or clicking links and find out more about charities appealing for money to support victims through online searches.

“The devastating situation in Ukraine has captured the hearts of people across the UK, leading to an outpouring of public generosity in response to fundraising campaigns,” said Fundraising Regulator chief executive Gerald Oppenheim.

“But people should think carefully before donating goods or money, so that their donations reach the people who need it most. Charities are responsible for making sure that their donations are used for the purpose they were fundraised for.

“That is why, if you are thinking about supporting a fundraising campaign, you should make sure that it is for an established, registered charity that is subject to charity law and fundraising regulations.”

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