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New US Sanctions Hit Russia Banks, TV Stations

The United States Department of the Treasury has announced new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has named entities and people that it says are critical to Russia’s ability to wage war, including the board members of two of Russia’s most important banks, a Russian state-owned bank and 10 of its subsidiaries, a state-supported weapons manufacturer, and three of Russia’s state-controlled television stations that generate revenue for the state, according to a department statement.  

OFAC is also taking action to cut off access to services that are used by the Russian Federation and Russian elites to evade sanctions.  

“Today we are further constricting Russia’s economy and access to services and technology it needs to conduct this unprovoked invasion,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen said in the statement.  

“Preventing Russia from accessing the United States’ valuable professional services increases the pressure on the Kremlin and cuts off its ability to evade sanctions imposed by the United States and our partners. We are also targeting Putin’s ability to generate revenue that enables his aggression, as well as entities and their leaders who support his destructive actions.”

The penalties include cutting off Western advertising from Russia’s three biggest and most popular television stations — Channel One Russia, Russia-1 and NTV — which the U.S. says have been in the forefront of spreading misinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The penalties also include banning U.S. accounting and consulting firms from providing services to any Russian and more restrictions on Russia’s industrial sector.  

Wealthy Russians have relied on U.S. expertise to set up shell companies, move wealth and resources to alternate jurisdictions, and conceal assets from authorities around the world, the Treasury statement said.  

In addition, Russian companies, particularly state-owned and state-supported enterprises, rely on these services to run and grow their businesses, generating revenue for the Russian economy that helps fund Putin’s war machine.

The U.S. also sanctioned eight current and recent members of the executive board of Sberbank, 27 executives from Gazprombank, a bank that facilitates sales by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, and the Moscow Industrial Bank, a Russian state-owned bank, along with 10 of its subsidiaries. MIB has facilitated transactions for the Russian intelligence services, the Treasury statement said.

The U.S. has also imposed some 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials and issued a new visa restriction policy that applies to Russian military officials and authorities suspected of human rights abuses or corruption.

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