The United States has further expanded – what was already considered – an unprecedented list of sanctions against Russia as part of Moscow’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine. On Thursday, Washington targeted parliamentarians, dozens of defense companies and a number of individuals, including the CEO of Russia’s largest bank.
In the latest attempt “to impose heavy costs on the Russian Federation for its illegal, unjustified and baseless war against Ukraine”, the Treasury has published a list of targeted entities and individuals it considers to be the “key factors of the invasion”. ”
“This includes dozens of Russian defense companies, 328 members of the Russian State Duma and the head of Russia’s largest financial institution. This action aligns with similar actions taken by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, and reflects continued unity to hold [Russian President Vladimir] Putin responsible for his war of choice,” the department said in a statement.
The parliamentarians were targeted by US sanctions for their support for “Kremlin efforts aimed at violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, in particular the recognition of the independence of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“In addition to designating 328 members of the State Duma today, OFAC also designates the State Duma itself as an entity,” the Treasury said.
The companies on the list, the department claims, produce weapons “that were used in Russia’s assault on the people, infrastructure and territory of Ukraine.” The 48 sanctioned companies include Tactical Missiles Corporation, High Precision Systems, Techmash, Russian Helicopters and other related entities.
The personal sanctions targeted, among others, Herman Gref, who was targeted as head of Sberbank and as a “close associate of Putin”, billionaire Gennady Timchenko and his relatives, and 17 board members of Sovcombank.
Sovcombank has already responded to the news, saying the sanctions targeted individuals and therefore would not affect banking operations.
Any transaction with gold from the reserves of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation were also punished. This was done “to blunt the Central Bank’s ability to deploy international reserves, including gold, to support the Russian economy and fund Putin’s brutal war.”
“The United States, together with our partners and allies, strikes at the heart of Russia’s ability to fund and carry out its war and atrocities against Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
On Thursday, the UK announced its own sanctions against Russia and the fifth package of EU restrictions is expected to follow shortly.
In the month since the launch of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the United States and its allies have introduced several sets of massive sanctions against Moscow. The restrictions already personally affect the president, several senior ministers, civil servants and businessmen, as well as a number of major banks, including Sberbank and VTB. Washington has also imposed an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports and restricted the export of microelectronics and luxury goods to Russia. The United States, the EU and their partners have cut the country off from their financial systems, limited transactions in dollars and euros, and frozen about $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves abroad, among other measures.
Moscow views the sanctions as unjustified, inappropriate and illegal and has pledged to take strong action to defend the Russian economy.
Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in late February, after a seven-year standoff over kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and end the conflict with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia eventually recognized the two independent states, at which point they requested military aid.
Russia demands that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two Donbas republics by force.