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US Treasury takes ‘one of its most significant sanctions actions to date’ on anniversary of Russia’s war against Ukraine | CNN Politics


The US Treasury Department on Friday took what it called “one of its most significant sanctions actions to date” to crack down on those aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine, targeting Russia’s metals and mining sector, its financial institutions, its military supply chain and individuals and companies worldwide that are helping Moscow avoid existing sanctions.

These latest actions by the Treasury Department are among a series of new measures announced by the Biden administration Friday that are meant to strengthen Kyiv and deter those providing support to Moscow as the war enters its second year without signs of abating.

Friday’s sweeping actions are meant to fill in gaps in existing sanctions that have been imposed over the past year of the war and are intended to impair “key revenue generating sectors in order to further degrade Russia’s economy and diminish its ability to wage war against Ukraine,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The administration on Friday imposed sanctions against a total of “over 200 individuals and entities, including both Russian and third-country actors across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that are supporting Russia’s war effort,” according to the White House fact sheet.

The latest tranche of Treasury Department sanctions target a total of 22 individuals and 83 entities, according to a Treasury Department news release, and were taken in coordination with the Group of 7 nations.

The US State Department also imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian officials and entities involved in the war and will take “steps to impose visa restrictions on 1,219 members of the Russian military, including officers, for actions that threaten or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. Three Russian military officials – Artyom Igorevich Gorodilov, Aleksey Sergeyevich Bulgakov, and Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Vasilyev – will be blocked from entering the US due to their involvement “in gross violations of human rights perpetrated against Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of wars,” Blinken said.

In addition to the sanctions, the US Commerce Department on Friday took “several export control actions, listing nearly 90 Russian and third country companies, including in China among other countries, on the Entity List for engaging in sanction evasion and backfill activities in support of Russia’s defense sector,” the White House fact sheet said.

“Our economic sanctions, export controls, and tariffs announced this week, in coordination with the G7, demonstrate that we will continue to work with our allies and partners to increase the pressure on President Putin, make it harder for him to wage his brutal war, and continue degrading the Russian economy’s ability to fuel continued aggression,” Blinken said.

Friday’s Treasury sanctions specifically target individuals and companies based outside of Russia that are connected to sanctions evasion, “including those related to arms trafficking and illicit finance,” the Treasury news release said.

For weeks, Biden administration officials had been previewing plans to crack down on those helping Moscow work around sanctions to continue its war against Kyiv. Top State Department official Victoria Nuland detailed some of the sanctions evasion efforts Thursday, describing Russia as “importing 1000% more laptops, iPhones, dishwashers from third-countries, not because they need to, you know, work at home on their laptops but so they can cannibalize this machinery to get the advanced chips that we have denied them so that they can make more rockets, etc.”

“We are going to get those evaders,” Nuland said last week.

Among those sanctioned by the Treasury Department Friday are Swiss-Italian businessman Walter Moretti “and his network of associates and companies” – including companies based in Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, Bulgaria and Russia – whom the Treasury Department said “have covertly procured sensitive Western technologies and equipment for Russian intelligence services and the Russian military, including hydraulic presses, armament packages, and armor plating.”

“Moretti and his associates have also procured equipment for Russia’s nuclear weapons laboratories,” the Treasury Department said.

In a coordinated action, the US State Department announced a slew of sanctions on Friday, hitting “over 60 individuals and entities” who have been “complicit” in Moscow’s aggression toward Ukraine and “the illegitimate administration of occupied Ukrainian territories for the benefit of the Russian Federation,” Blinken said in a statement.

“These targets include government ministers, governors, and high-level officials in Russia, as well as six individuals and three entities operating in parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia, facilitating grain theft, and governing on behalf of Russia,” he said.

The State Department sanctioned “those engaged in Russia’s illegitimate control of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP),” Blinken said, noting that “Russia’s military attacks on, and subsequent seizure of the ZNPP, have only underscored the global concerns related to nuclear energy security and undermine the Kremlin’s efforts to portray itself as a responsible supplier of nuclear energy products.”

“Further, the Department is designating three key enterprises that develop and operate Russia’s nuclear weapons as well as three Russian civil nuclear entities under the Rosatom organizational structure. In taking these actions, we highlight that Russia uses energy resources, including in the nuclear sector, to exert political and economic pressure on its customers globally,” the top US diplomat said.

The State Department also sanctioned four individuals and 22 entities in Russia’s advanced technology sector, Blinken said, adding that they are specifically “targeting manufacturers and developers of hardware and software for Russia’s intelligence collection capabilities through its System for Operational-Search Measures as part of our efforts to degrade Russia’s capacity to violently expand its imperial project around the globe.”

In addition, they hit three companies “involved in expanding Russia’s future energy production and export capacity,” including those “involved in the design and construction of the Sever Bay Terminal as part of the Vostok oil projects,” Blinken said.

The latest tranche of Treasury Department sanctions hit “over a dozen financial institutions in Russia, including one of the top-ten largest banks by asset value” – Credit Bank of Moscow Public Joint Stock Company – and wealth management firms. The Treasury Department explained that individuals under sanction have “been known to turn to smaller banks as well as wealth-management firms in an attempt to evade sanctions as Russia seeks new ways to access the international financial system.”

The agency also imposed sanctions on Nurmurad Kurbanov, “a Russian-Turkmen arms dealer who has represented Russian and Belarusian defense firms abroad” and Aleksandr Yevgenyevich Udodov, a Russian businessman with ties to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who is accused of illicit financial activities.

In addition to targeting those involved with sanctions evasion, the Treasury Department took actions meant to weaken Moscow’s military supply chains.

The latest sanctions hit “numerous Russia-based entities involved in the production of carbon fiber and related materials” – materials that “are used in almost all defense-related platforms including aircraft, ground combat vehicles, ballistic missiles, and military personal protection gear, as well as other weapons systems.” They also imposed sanctions on companies tied to Russia’s aerospace, technology and electronics sectors.

“As the Ukrainian people continue to valiantly defend their homeland and their freedom, the United States is proud to support Ukraine through economic, security, and humanitarian assistance,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “Over the past year, we have taken actions with a historic coalition of international partners to degrade Russia’s military-industrial complex and reduce the revenues that it uses to fund its war.”

“Our sanctions have had both short-term and long-term impact, seen acutely in Russia’s struggle to replenish its weapons and in its isolated economy. Our actions today with our G7 partners show that we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said.

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