U.S. Targets Russian Media, Bank Executives With New Sanctions https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-targets-russian-media-bank-executives-with-new-sanctions-11652025601
By Ken Thomas
WASHINGTON—The Biden administration announced new sanctions targeting Russian state-controlled media and banking executives, a ban on Americans providing accounting and management consulting services, and new export controls targeting the country’s industrial sector.
A senior administration official on Sunday said the package would seek to clamp down on advertising dollars flowing into three Russian television stations, bar U.S. consulting firms from providing services to Russian companies seeking to evade sanctions, and limit Russia’s access to industrial engines, motors, and bulldozers.
The U.S. also will sanction banking executives from Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia, and Gazprombank, a Russian bank that facilitates business by Russia’s Gazprom, one of the world’s largest natural gas exporters, the official said. The U.S. and its European allies have imposed a widening array of economic penalties on Russia in punishment for its invasion of Ukraine.
President Biden was holding a call Sunday morning with G-7 leaders to take stock of the allies’ response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. The leaders were joined by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for discussions that were taking place ahead of Russia’s commemoration Monday of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II.
“Today’s actions are a continuation of the systematic and methodical removal of Russia from the global, financial and economic system,” the official said. “The message is there will be no haven for the Russian economy if Putin’s invasion continues.”
Russia has been undeterred by U.S. and European sanctions. In late April it cut off gas flows to two European Union countries in an escalation over the sanctions initiatives.
The official also said all of the G-7 nations would commit to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil, and joining the U.S. The administration said it would help further deny Mr. Putin the revenue he needs to conduct the war.
The European Union has proposed an oil embargo on Russia. It was hoping to agree to the embargo by Monday but is still working to overcome resistance from Hungary. As part of its sixth round of sanctions, the EU has also proposed banning Russia’s three leading broadcasters from being shown in the bloc and has asked member states to approve the delisting of Sberbank and two other banks from the Swift financial-messaging system.
The White House on Friday announced another round of military aid to Ukraine, including artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, and jamming equipment. Mr. Biden has requested an additional $33 billion from Congress to provide weapons and long-term economic and humanitarian assistance to the country.
The latest sanctions package will cover three of Russia’s directly or indirectly state-controlled television stations, including Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, and Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company. The official, which called the stations the “mouthpiece of the Kremlin,” said the U.S. actions would cut off advertising dollars, broadcast technology, video cameras, microphone, and equipment to the news stations broadcasting Russia’s war effort.
The new steps will also bar American firms from providing accounting services, management consulting, and marketing services to Russian companies. The official said the restrictions would make it more difficult for Russian companies to evade sanctions.
The official said legal services aren’t covered by the latest sanctions list but could be added at a later date if necessary.
The administration also intends to ratchet up sanctions on the Russian elite, taking steps to penalize eight executives with Sberbank and 27 executives with Gazprombank along with the Moscow Industrial Bank and its subsidiaries.
Russia’s industrial sector will also face export controls on a variety of equipment and items, including wood products, industrial engines, boilers, motors, fans and ventilation equipment and bulldozers.
The administration said it would also sanction Promtekhnologiya LLC, which produces rifles and weapons that have been used by the Russian military. The sanctions will also cover seven shipping companies which own or operate 69 vessels, and a marine towing company, the administration said.
As part of the plan, the U.S. will issue about 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials who the administration said were undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty. The U.S. was also issuing a new visa-restriction policy that would apply to Russian military officials and Russian-backed authorities thought to have been involved in human rights abuses, the administration said.
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