The United States on Thursday again expanded sanctions against the Russian Federation due to the situation around Ukraine. The blacklists included the richest Russian businessmen, their relatives and persons associated with them, as well as, for example, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov. In addition, although not because of direct sanctions, but because of obstacles in the implementation of its activities, the RT America channel stopped producing content.
The fact that the United States continues to prepare sanctions against the Russian Federation, the head of the White House, Joe Biden, announced on Thursday at a meeting with members of his administration (the transcript of the communication was distributed by the press service of the White House). The American leader said that it was about “blocking access to technology, as well as access to the global financial system, which has already had a strong impact.” “The goal is to maximize the impact on Putin and Russia, as well as minimize harm to us and our allies and friends around the world,” he added.
According to Mr. Biden, the United States and allies may be on track to “carry out the most powerful combined economic pressure campaign on Putin in history.”
He recalled that he had instructed the US Department of Justice to investigate “the crimes of Russian oligarchs who line their pockets with the money of the Russian people” while Russian troops “shelled Ukraine.”
Mr. Biden also said that broad bipartisan agreement had been reached with Congress on a number of issues, including the Ukrainian crisis.
In addition, on Thursday, the American leader had another telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to the press service of the White House, the conversation touched upon “the latest information about the fire at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.” During the talks, an appeal was made to Russia “to stop hostilities in the area and give access to fire and emergency services.” On Friday morning, the Ukrainian State Emergency Service clarified: the fire that occurred in the building of the NPP training complex has been eliminated.
Later, after Joe Biden’s communication with members of his administration, the State Department and the Treasury issued clarifications on new measures against Russia. These are sanctions against “Russian elites”, the inclusion of additional export restrictions on Russian oil supplies and gas processing, as well as the fight against disinformation, the State Department said.
Sanctions pressure, in particular, is directed “against some of the richest Russians close to Putin,” the ministry said in a statement.
The list includes the founder and main shareholder of USM Alisher Usmanov, businessmen Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, President of Transneft Nikolai Tokarev, CEO of Rostec Sergey Chemezov. The US government also announced that it would prosecute those involved in Russia’s global campaign of “disinformation and destabilizing influence”, including in Ukraine. Among them in Washington were the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov and businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had previously repeatedly been included in various sanctions lists. Now, Prigozhin’s wife, Polina, daughter Lyubov, and son Pavel, who are reportedly “playing various roles in his business venture,” have also been added to sanctions. In total, 19 Russian businessmen, as well as 47 members of their families and persons associated with them, are under the new sanctions.
In addition, the Treasury separately placed on the list of restrictions 26 individuals and seven legal entities that the US authorities accuse of being involved in the “Russian global disinformation campaign.” Among them are those who, according to Washington, are “supported by the Russian special services” and are involved in “ultra-nationalist propaganda.” This list includes, for example, the Strategic Culture Foundation, One Motherland, Rhythm of Eurasia, Tuning Fork, Southern Front, Inforos, New Eastern Outlook, Geopolitica and United World International. The sanctions also affected 22 firms associated with the Russian defense sector.
Although the sanctions of the US Treasury did not affect the Russian television channel RT, its leadership on Thursday decided to stop producing content in the US. This follows from a memo (available to Kommersant) by Mikhail Solodovnikov, head of the production company T & R Productions, which provided support for the activities of RT America. He told employees that the organization was shutting down all of its branches “as a result of unforeseen business interruptions.” According to Mr. Solodovnikov, “these interruptions will be permanent”, so the company’s management has no other choice.