U.S. unveils additional sanctions targeting Russian media, financing and elites

The U.S., European Union and Group of Seven nations will impose additional sanctions on Russia targeting the country’s state-controlled media, elites and services that help finance the war in Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said Sunday.

The announcement came as Biden met virtually with leaders of the G7 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to reinforce their shared commitment to strengthening the war-torn country’s position on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.

The U.S. will sanction three of Russia’s most-viewed directly or indirectly state-controlled television stations — Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, and Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company, the official said, adding that the stations have been among the largest recipients of foreign revenue, which feeds back into the Russian state.

The administration will also prohibit U.S. individuals from providing accounting, trust and corporate formation, or management consulting services to anyone in the Russian Federation in an effort to limit key services to Moscow companies and elites whose wealth generates revenue for Russia and who are trying to hide that money and evade sanctions, the official said.

The action builds on previous restrictions on the export of goods in the aerospace, marine, electronics, technology and defense sectors.

Additionally, the U.S. will further restrict Russian exports by sanctioning Promtekhnologiya, a company that produces rifles and other weapons used in military operations in Ukraine, as well as seven shipping companies and a marine towing company, the official said. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also suspend licenses for the export of certain nuclear materials to Russia.

The U.S. will issue a new rule to impose additional sanctions on Russia’s industrial sector, including a broad range of input material and equipment, such as wood products, industrial engines and motors, to limit the country’s access to such items as well as revenue that could support its military capabilities, the official continued.

The G7, which consists of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada, has also committed to phasing out or banning Russian oil imports and vowed to work alongside the U.S. to ensure stable global energy supplies, the official said.

Lastly, the U.S. issued new visa restrictions on Russian military officials and Moscow-backed authorities allegedly involved in human rights abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, or public corruption in Ukraine, the official said.

The administration also sanctioned executives from Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia, as well as Gazprombank, which facilitates business by Russia’s Gazprom, one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world, and Moscow Industrial Bank and its subsidiaries.

Sanctions against Russia previously imposed the U.S. and its allies and partners have already taken a major toll on the country’s economy, access to technology and supply chains, the official said, adding that these new steps will “ratchet up these costs.”

The virtual meeting of the world’s leading economies came as Biden presses Congress to deliver an additional $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine in anticipation that the fighting, which began on Feb. 24 when Russia launched an invasion, will stretch on for months.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday noted the significance of the timing of the G7 meeting, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “projected his desire” to use his nation’s Victory Day celebrations Monday to declare the defeat of Ukraine.

In a late-night video Saturday, Zelenskyy warned that Russia will likely ramp up their attacks over the weekend, leading into Monday.

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