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Biden hits Russia with 500+ sanctions

The Biden administration will impose a new round of economic sanctions targeting Russian fuel exports and military-industry imports, the Treasury Department announced Friday.

Coming one week after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in the custody of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government and one day short of the two-year anniversary of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the more than 500 new sanctions include targets inside and outside of Russia and are meant to disrupt Putin’s ability to fund and wage war.

“Our sanctions have two goals,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Friday. “Reduce the revenues the Kremlin has to fuel its war of choice, and disrupt Russia’s ability to get the goods it needs to build the weapons the Kremlin wants.”

The sanctions were designed to “crack down” on Russia’s efforts to evade existing measures to disrupt the export of Russian energy, Adeyemo said in an appearance Friday at the Council on Foreign Relations, according to a department transcript.

Russia has spent considerable resources to avoid previous sanctions, Adeyemo said. Those efforts take away from what Russia can commit to the battlefield, he added.

Friday’s sanctions also target third-country individuals and entities that provide Russia with weapons and other tools of war.

Those targets include six China-based technology suppliers and a precious metals investment firm based in Liechtenstein and owned by German nationals. They also include manufacturers based in Serbia, Estonia, Ireland, the Kyrgyz Republic and Finland, according to a news release from the Treasury Department.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control also listed new targets in Russia’s military-industrial, financial and other sectors.

Companies include manufacturers or providers of weapons, 3D printers, metalworking equipment, industrial chemicals, semiconductors and other electronics, military informational technology, industrial automation, optics such as thermal imaging technology, navigational instruments, energy storage, aerospace, logistics and precious metals.

Treasury sanctioned nearly 300 companies. Together with sanctions from the departments of State and Commerce, the total announced Friday was more than 590, according to the Treasury Department.

The State Department would add three Russian government officials related to Navalny’s death to its sanctions list, according to the Treasury Department release. The State Department had not released its own list as of midday Friday.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement that the sanctions were appropriate to hold Putin accountable.

“Putin believes he can murder opponents and critics with impunity,” Brown said. “We must prove him wrong. The United States and the West must continue to hold the lawless Russian regime accountable. We must use every tool to protect U.S. national security and stand with our allies.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York led a delegation of Senate Democrats to Ukraine this week. In Lyiv on Friday, he told reporters that the group sought to pressure U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, to support an aid package to the country that is running low on supplies to defend against Russia.

“Without the aid, Ukraine, America should know, Speaker Johnson and the House Republicans should know, without the aid, we will lose the war,” Schumer said, according to a transcript provided by his office.

“But conversely, we were told by just about everyone we saw — American, Ukrainian, military, political, diplomatic — that if they get the aid, if Ukraine gets the aid, it will win the war.”

Sens. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut were part of the delegation with Schumer.

The Senate approved in a bipartisan vote this month a $95 billion package for emergency military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

But the House, where Republicans have for months blocked any military assistance to Ukraine, has not acted on the measure.

President Joe Biden also urged the nation’s governors to press for Ukraine assistance during a meeting at the White House Friday.

After a campaign stop in California Thursday, Biden repeated his view that Putin is “responsible for” Navalny’s death. The outspoken Putin opponent, who was nearly killed by poison in 2020, died in a Russian prison last week.

The circumstances of his death are not clear in the West, but Biden has placed the blame on Putin.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is challenging former President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, indicated in a Friday statement that she would treat Russia more harshly than either Biden or Trump.

“When it comes to Russia, Joe Biden has been five steps behind, and Donald Trump is openly appeasing Vladimir Putin,” she said.

Excerpts or more from an article that was originally published on Arkansas Advocate is included in this post under a Creative Commons License.

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