U.S. Announces Sanctions In Giant Crackdown

More than 120 Russian organizations and individuals, including some in third countries, have been hit with a sweeping new set of economic restrictions.

The United States will “continue to take action against Russia and those supporting its war in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on April 12.

Blinken argues that this action shows the Group of 7’s “determination to impose harsh costs on third-country actors” who back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its second year.

The United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan comprise the Group of 7 (G-7), an intergovernmental political forum. Except for Japan, all members of the Group of Seven (G-7) are Western NATO allies and strong backers of Kyiv.

Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in the first few months of last year, ostensibly to defend Russian speakers in that country and to prevent the eastward expansion of NATO. The government in Kyiv and its allies see the action as an illegal attempt at conquest.

The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, described the new wave of sanctions as a last resort.

The United Kingdom and the United States have recently imposed sanctions on Russian-affiliated organizations.

The Russian Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov is the main target of the sanctions since he allegedly controls “a large network of firms… through which to conduct financial transactions, enabling him to possibly avoid sanctions,” as stated by the Treasury Department.

Sanctions also apply to Usmanov’s holding company, USM Holdings, and its subsidiaries. Examples are a cement manufacturer in Uzbekistan and a Russian iron production with overseas branches in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications business owned by the USM, is also the target of the penalties.

This action marks the first time the United States has sanctioned Russia’s telecom sector.

New sanctions hit five more organizations with ties to Rosatom, the Russian government’s nuclear energy company. The federal government in Washington has charged the firm with exploiting its energy exports to apply political and economic pressure on overseas clients.

The new round of penalties also targeted two Chinese tech companies: HEAD Aerospace Technology and King-Pai Technology HK.

The former and latter supply technological components to Russia’s military-industrial complex, as the United States government claims.

Russia and China’s relationship has grown closer in recent weeks.