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Thursday, December 7, 2023

U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russian Deputy PM, central bank officials

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The US government has cracked down on senior officials of Russia with new sanctions.  The sanctioned include Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Valentinovich Novak and senior officials of the Russian central bank.

The United States issued a slew of fresh penalties against senior Russian officials on Friday, after Vladimir Putin claimed that four Ukrainian provinces will become Russian territory, threatening anybody who supports the plan with severe financial consequences.

The effort by the Treasury, State, and Commerce departments to freeze the American assets of hundreds of Russian legislators comes on top of a raft of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies in an attempt to cripple its economy and weaken its capacity to support the invasion of Ukraine.

The Biden administration also left the door open for more significant repercussions for foreign actors that approach the regions as if they were part of Russia.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated, “The Treasury Department, the United States government, and our partners will not hesitate to take prompt and serious consequences against people and corporations inside and outside of Russia who are involved in this conflict and these phony referendums.”

Top Russian central bank officials, including Governor Elvira Nabiullina and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, are among those sanctioned. Others include the families of officials of Russia’s National Security Council and shell firms founded this year to assist Russian military suppliers in evading existing sanctions, as well as companies in the defense and technology industries.

The Treasury Department’s sanctions arm stated that it will also target “entities and individual jurisdictions outside Russia that offer political or economic assistance to Russia’s unlawful endeavor to grab Ukrainian sovereign territory.”

This includes aiding the attempted annexation or Russia’s military, seeking to avoid US sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus, or assisting already sanctioned Russian firms and individuals.

The Commerce Department added 57 corporations to its list of export control offenders, while the State Department restricted visas for almost 900 persons.

A White House official warned, “Any people, company, or nation that offers political or economic support to Russia as a result of its unlawful actions to change the status of Ukrainian land will face consequences.”

However, Daniel Tannebaum, global head of sanctions at management consulting company Oliver Wyman, believes that the current restrictions are mostly symbolic in the absence of secondary sanctions on Russia’s commercial allies, particularly China and India.

Putin will not frighten America or its allies, according to Biden.

A former Treasury officer at the Office of Foreign Assets Control,  Tannebaum, said, “It’s remarkable to see the breadth of this response. At this point, you’re concentrating on economic isolation, which practically means looking at people that trade with Russia.”

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