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US sanctions 500 Russia-linked targets ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

The United States is imposing sanctions on more than 500 targets connected to Russia's war machine and the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the government said Friday. The United States has issued sanctions on more than 500 Russian-linked targets in response to Moscow’s invasion of UKraine two years ago and the death in prison of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. 

The White House announced the move a day before the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions focus on Russia's core financial infrastructure, as well as people and entities in other countries the U.S. says are helping supply Russia with critical technology and equipment, and to evade sanctions.

The United States will impose more than 500 new sanctions on Russian companies, individuals and firms in other countries that supply Russia’s military and industrial production, according to a Treasury Department spokeswoman. Most importantly, the U.S. government will aim to tighten an existing Western “price cap” that requires purchasers to buy Russian oil at a discounted rate or face severe financial penalties. Energy sales are by far the biggest source of revenue for the Kremlin, but Western allies have been wary of shutting off a crucial source of fuel for the global economy.

The measures are the largest sanctions imposed since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the Treasury Department said.

"There are some companies out there in these third countries that are wittingly providing resource and material support to Russia's military industrialized complex," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said briefing journalists Thursday evening. "We're going to hold them accountable."

Among the companies sanctioned is Russia's state-owned National Payment Card System Joint Stock Co., which operates the Mir payment system widely used in Russia, the Treasury said. Scores of Russian companies producing tanks, lasers and other technology for the war effort are also targeted.

The West’s sanctions on Russia, though billed as among the toughest ever, have thus far failed to deter Putin from carrying out the war in Ukraine, and the announcement of new measures may raise questions about why the United States had not previously targeted these firms. Despite the predictions of some analysts, Russia’s economy grew by more than 3 percent last year — faster than the United States — as Moscow spent extensively to support the war effort. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters the United States will not seek to lower the price at which Russians can sell oil, but instead crack down on trades that violate the cap.

Washington has also imposed new export restrictions on nearly 100 entities for providing support to Russia and take action to further reduce Russia’s energy revenues, US President Joe Biden said on Friday.

The entities and sectors targeted include Russia’s Mir payment system, Russian financial institutions and its military industrial base, sanctions evasion, and future energy production, and will also include officials believed to be involved in the death of Navalny, the Treasury and State departments said.

The measures represent the largest single tranche of penalties since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 2024 and come on the back of a series of new arrests and indictments that the US Department of Justice announced on Thursday, targeting Russian businessmen, including the head of state-owned VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest bank.

“They will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home,” Biden said of the sanctions.

The new economic restrictions come after the White House said this week that it was preparing " major " penalties after the death of Navanly, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, in an Arctic penal colony.

Biden said on Thursday, after meeting Navalny’s widow Yulia and daughter Dasha in California, that “we’re going to be announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow”.


US sanctions 500 Russia-linked targets ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

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