Ukraine crisis: US, allies impose fresh sanctions on Russia
The US and its allies on Thursday imposed fresh sanctions on Russia, targeting dozens of Russian defence companies, hundreds of members of its parliament and the chief executive of the country’s largest bank as Washington ramps up pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
The US treasury department also issued guidance on its website warning that gold-related transactions involving Russia may be sanctionable by US authorities, a move aimed at stopping Russia from evading existing sanctions.
“Our purpose here is to methodically remove the benefits and privileges Russia once enjoyed as a participant in the international economic order,” a senior administration official said.
The US and its allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions, including targeting the country’s largest lenders and President Vladimir Putin, since Russian forces invaded Ukraine a month ago in the biggest assault on a European state since World War II.
Moscow calls the assault a “special operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbour.
Among the new sanctions targets are more than 40 defence companies, including state-owned Tactical Missiles Corp and 28 firms to which it is linked, as well as its general director, the US treasury department said in a statement.
The treasury said Washington’s action aligned with similar measures taken by the EU, the UK and Canada.
It said the conglomerate, which Britain has already hit with sanctions, produces naval systems and weapons that Russia is using against Ukraine, including the Kh-31, a high-speed airborne guided missile that has been employed extensively in Moscow’s offensive.
Other firms on the new list include manufacturers of ammunition for the Russian military, civilian and military helicopters, and drones that the treasury said originally were designed for surveillance but have been “repurposed” and used to attack Ukrainian forces.
The treasury also slapped sanctions on 328 members of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, and Herman Gref, the head of Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, who the treasury said was a close Putin associate.
The White House in a statement said Thursday’s action also targeted 17 board members of Sovcombank and Gennady Timchenko, a longtime ally of Putin, his companies and family members.
The official said the US warned Putin that it would face swift and severe consequences if he invaded Ukraine and they have delivered on that threat.
The official noted that the country is facing punishing inflation and economic pain that will push it out of the world’s top 20 economies.
G7 leaders have announced they are restricting the Russian Central Bank’s use of gold in transactions.
Previously, sanctions against Russian elites, the country’s Central Bank and Putin did not impact Russia’s gold stockpile, which Putin has been accumulating for several years.
Russia holds roughly $130 billion in gold reserves, and the Bank of Russia announced on February 28 that it would resume the purchase of gold on the domestic precious metals market.