August 2, 2022 Russia and Ukraine news

Andrey Grigorievich Gurev, CEO of PhosAgro, speaks in an interview at the opening press conference during the World Chess Championship on March 9, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for World Chess)

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden’s administration took a series of measures targeting Russian elites – including several close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin – in its latest attempt to punish the Kremlin for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Treasury announced a new round of sanctions against a number of oligarchs, a major steel producer and two of its subsidiaries, as well as a financial institution accused of running a sanctions-evading operation and its general manager.

Separately, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the imposition of sanctions on three oligarchs, a Russian state-owned company supervised by the Russian Ministry of Transport, “four individuals and one entity operating illegally on Ukrainian territory in cooperation with Russia”, 24 Russian defense and Technology related entities.

Blinken said the United States is also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials and “31 foreign government officials who worked to support Russia’s alleged annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, and thus threatened or violated Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Many of the designations announced by the United States target oligarchs who have previously been sanctioned by allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the European Union. These measures come as the war in Ukraine approaches its sixth year.

“While innocents suffer from Russia’s unlawful war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded lavish lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “The Treasury will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that Russian elites and Kremlin enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost many lives. Countless lives.”

The few approved by the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday are Andrei Igorevich Melnichenko, Alexander Anatolyevich Ponomarenko and Dmitriy Alexandrovich Pompiansky. The State Department said in a fact sheet that the yacht Axioma has been identified as a prohibited property and has an interest in Pompeianski.

According to this fact sheet, Ponomarenko “is an oligarchy with close ties to other oligarchy and the construction of Vladimir Putin’s seaside palace” previously sanctioned by the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Among the few sanctioned by the Treasury on Tuesday was Andrei Grigorievich Gurev, the Russian billionaire founder of chemical company PhosAgro and a former government official described by the Treasury Department as a “well-known partner” of Putin. It is also subject to UK sanctions and, according to the US Treasury, “owns Witanhurst, the second largest property in London after Buckingham Palace”.

The US Treasury on Tuesday designated the Alfa Nero yacht, which is reported to be owned by AG Guryev, as proscribed property.

Sanctions were imposed on Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, another close ally of Putin. Kabaeva is a former member of the State Duma and current head of the national media group, “a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio and print organizations.” According to the Treasury, “it has also been subject to sanctions by the European Union and the United Kingdom.”

On Tuesday, the son of AG Gurev, Andrei Andreevich Guryev, was also sanctioned by the United States, after he was sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as his investment company Dzhi AI Invest OOO.

Natalia Valerevna Popova was sanctioned “for her work or work in the technology sector of the economy of the Russian Federation, and because she was or was a leader, officer, senior executive or member of the board of directors of LLC VEB Ventures”, which is a sanctioned entity. She was also punished for being the wife of Kirill Alexandrovich Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Both he and the RDIF were punished in the days after the start of the war.

The promising Joint Stock Company of Industry and Infrastructure Technologies, “a financial institution owned by the Russian Federal Agency for the Management of State Property,” and its General Director Anton Sergeevich Urosov were sanctioned on Tuesday in connection with alleged evasion of sanctions.

According to the Treasury, “the JSC PPIT attempted to facilitate the circumvention of sanctions against the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”

The Treasury has sanctioned Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat (MMK), described as “one of the world’s largest steel producers,” its chairman Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov – who also sanctioned Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – and two of its subsidiaries for MMK.

“MMK is one of the largest taxpayers in Russia, and provides a significant source of revenue for the government of the Russian Federation,” the Treasury said. The Agency allowed a liquidation period for transactions with MMK and one of its affiliates.

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