Joe Biden announces 500 sanctions on Russia for Ukraine war, Alexei Navalny death

Biden announces more than 500 sanctions on Russia for Ukraine war, Navalny death

Feb. 23 (UPI) — The United States marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the announcement Friday of an unprecedented package of sanctions penalizing Moscow for its “war of conquest on Ukraine” and the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The more than 500 sanctions target individuals implicated in Navalny’s death, as well as the country’s financial, defense and energy sectors and entities on several continents that evade sanctions, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement released on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion.

Biden said the United States would also impose new export restrictions on nearly 100 entities “for providing back-door support for Russia’s war machine.”

“We are taking action to further reduce Russia’s energy revenues. And I’ve directed my team to strengthen support for civil society, independent media and those who fight for democracy around the world,” he said.

Biden said the measures would ensure Russian President Vladimir Putin “pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home.”

The Treasury Department said it was joining with the State Department in “the largest number of sanctions imposed since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine” targeting three Russian government officials in connection with Navalny’s death as well as more than “imposing additional costs for Russia’s repression, human rights abuses, and aggression against Ukraine” on more than 500 targets,

The Department of Commerce would also add more than 90 companies to its Entity List.

Among the sanctioned Russian targets are the National Payment Card System Joint Stock Company, a state-owned operator of Russia’s Mir National Payment System.

Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which Treasury said is part of a network Russia uses to acquire drones, was sanctioned along with foreign financial institutions that help facilitate transactions for Russia’s military-industrial base.

The wide-ranging sanctions target Russian weapons production, manufacturing, machine tools, lubricants, coolants, industrial chemicals, semiconductor and electronics components, industrial automation, optics, military-industrial base information technology and Russia’s aerospace sector among other things.

The new sanctions include China and Serbia-based tech suppliers as well as Russian financial infrastructure including Russia-based investment and venture capital firms.

“Russia’s economy and military-industrial base are showing clear signs of weakness in part due to the actions we, along with our partners and allies around the world, have taken to support Ukraine’s brave defense,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. “We must sustain our support for Ukraine even as we weaken Russia’s war machine. It’s critical that Congress steps up to join our allies around the world in giving Ukraine the means to defend itself and its freedom against Putin’s barbarous assault.”

Last week, Biden said Putin was responsible for Navalny’s death, but when asked about his past pledge that Russia would face “devastating” consequences if he were killed, the president pointed to multiple waves of sanctions and other punishments imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions announcement came a day after the U.S. Justice Department unveiled sweeping civil and criminal actions stemming from five separate cases of Task Force KleptoCapture, which targets perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine and illegal inflows of funds that are financing Russia’s war.

An indictment was unsealed against sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrey Kostin for a scheme to evade sanctions and launder funds for two super-yachts valued at $135 million. Two men in the United States were also arrested on charges of being accessories in the scheme.

Federal prosecutors also moved forward indictments in Florida and Washington against two other individuals involving alleged efforts to skirt U.S. sanctions.

In another Florida case, the Justice Department filed a forfeiture suit in an effort to seize two luxury condominiums in Miami worth $2.5 million that it says are owned by sanctioned oligarch Viktor Perevalov.

Elsewhere, Feliks Medvedev pleaded guilty in a Georgia court to involvement in the laundering of $150 million for Russian clients.

Biden on Friday also reiterated calls for Congress to pass the national security supplemental bill with new funding for Ukraine, which is stalled in the House of Representatives, “before it was too late.”

He warned that with Ukrainian forces running out of ammunition, their ability to keep holding off Russia, which was getting arms shipments from North Korea and Iran, depended on being resupplied by the United States as a matter of urgency.

“It passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, and there is no question that, if the speaker called a vote, it would pass quickly in the House,” Biden said.

Last week, he called the decision by the House to go on vacation before voting on the bill approved by the Senate “bizarre” as he urged Congress to take up the bill.

“Congress knows that by supporting this bill, we can strengthen security in Europe, strengthen our security at home and stand up to Putin. Opposing this bill only plays into his hands,” Biden said Friday.


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