WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russia over its announcement to annex parts of Ukraine, targeting hundreds of people and companies, including those in the Russian military-industrial complex and lawmakers.
Washington moved after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, on Friday, the largest annexation operation in Europe since World War II, and announced Russia’s control of 15% of the territory of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces.
“We will rally the international community to condemn these moves and hold Russia to account. We will continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, without being deterred by Russia’s brazen efforts to redraw its neighbour,” US President Joe said. Biden said in a statement.
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The latest sanctions come on top of sweeping measures already imposed by the United States and its allies this year that have already crippled Russia’s international trade and domestic economy. But they did not reach the level of the Russian energy industry, the country’s largest source of hard currency.
The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. In a speech on Friday, Putin criticized the West as a neo-colonialist and satanic. Ukraine has said it will speed up its application to join NATO, the US-led Western military alliance.
Guidance from the US Treasury and Commerce departments warned that anyone outside Russia, including companies providing political, economic or material support to Moscow, faced an increased risk of sanctions.
Treasury sanctions generally freeze any US assets of those identified and prevent Americans from doing business with them.
Trade added 57 entities in Russia and Crimea to ban exports.
The Treasury said it had imposed sanctions on 14 people in Russia’s military-industrial complex, two central bank leaders, family members of senior officials and 278 members of the legislature “for enabling Russia to conduct mock referendums and attempt to annex Ukraine’s sovereign territory.”
Russia moved to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions in eastern and southern Ukraine after holding what it called referendums – votes that Kyiv and Western governments denounced as illegal and forced.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was among those sanctioned by the US. 109 members of the State Duma; Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and 169 of its members; and Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina.
Among the targets related to Russian defense procurement is a Chinese supplier that the Treasury has accused of supporting Radioavtomatika, a US-designated Russian defense procurement firm.
Washington said Sinno Electronics Co Ltd, which was previously on the Commerce Department’s entity list, maintained a relationship with the Russian company even after the invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Snow did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Armenia’s Taco LLC, Russia’s Novastream Limited, a state-owned supplier in Belarus, and Russian technology and defense companies were among the other firms ranked on Russian defense procurement.
The Treasury Department also identified Russian National Security Council family members, such as Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s wife and two adult children, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s wife and adult children and National Guard Chief Viktor Zolotov’s wife and adult children.
In addition, the immediate family members of the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federal Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, the Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, and the Governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Beglov were subjected to sanctions.
In a separate statement, the US State Department said it had imposed visa restrictions on more than 900 people, including members of the Russian and Belarusian military and “Russia’s proxies for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence,” and banned them from traveling to the United States.
The United States has designated a Russian national, Oshur Sog Mongush, for his involvement in what US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called a “flagrant human rights violation committed against a Ukrainian prisoner of war,” Mongush and his immediate family members said cannot enter the United States.
On Friday, Canada also announced measures against dozens of oligarchs, financial elites and their family members, as well as 35 senior Russian-backed officials in the regions where the referendums were held. Britain also imposed sanctions on the central bank governor and imposed a new ban on the export of services and goods.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States hopes Friday’s sanctions will reduce the Russian military’s ability to threaten Ukraine, and “undermine Russia’s key sectors” in technology, industry and defense, “so it can project power and threaten and coerce its neighbors and wage wars.” Aggressiveness decreases over time.
Brian O’Toole, a former Treasury official who now works for the Atlantic Council, said Washington’s goals fit well with Russia’s annexation.
He said the action against Sinno Electronics serves as a warning to other Chinese companies and those that may do business with Russia.
“I was impressed with how powerful that was given that this was a relatively short turnaround,” O’Toole said.
Sullivan spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday about their “common concern” about Russian annexation and the need to protect critical infrastructure after the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, the United States said.
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Additional reporting by Daphne Psalidakis, Steve Holland, Karen Freifeld, Doina Chiaco, Heather Timmons in Washington and Steve Shearer in Ottawa; writing by Daphne Psalidakis; Editing by Tim Ahmann, Howard Guler, Grant McCall and Margarita Choi
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