US issues more sanctions targeting Russia over Ukraine

Daphne Psaledakis |

The United States has issued a new series of sanctions on Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.
The United States has issued a new series of sanctions on Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.

The United States has issued hundreds of fresh sanctions targeting Russia over the war in Ukraine in action that took aim at Moscow’s circumvention of Western measures, including through China.

The US Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on nearly 200 targets and the State Department designated more than 80 in one of the most wide-ranging actions against Chinese companies so far in Washington’s sanctions aimed at Russia.

The US imposed sanctions on 20 companies based in China and Hong Kong, following repeated warnings from Washington about China’s support for Russia’s military, including during recent trips by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the country.

Ukraine war
The US and its allies have imposed sanctions on thousands of targets since Russia invaded Ukraine. (EPA PHOTO)

China’s support for Russia is one of the many issues threatening to sour the recent improvement in relations between the world’s biggest economies.

“Treasury has consistently warned that companies will face significant consequences for providing material support for Russia’s war, and the US is imposing them today on almost 300 targets,” Yellen said in a statement.

Russia’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for China’s embassy in Washington, said the government oversees the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations, adding that normal trade and economic interactions between China and Russia are in like with World Trade Organisation rules and market principles.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes the US’s illegal unilateral sanctions,” he said.

The US and its allies have imposed sanctions on thousands of targets since Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine. The war has seen tens of thousands of people killed and cities destroyed.

Washington has since sought to crack down on evasion of the Western measures, including by issuing sanctions on firms in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Treasury’s action on Wednesday sanctioned nearly 60 targets located in Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Slovakia it accused of enabling Russia to “acquire desperately-needed technology and equipment from abroad.”

The move included measures against a China-based company Treasury said exported items for the production of drones – such as propellers, engines and sensors – to a company in Russia. Other China and Hong Kong-based technology suppliers were also targeted.

The State Department also imposed sanctions on four China-based companies it accused of supporting Russia’s defence industrial base, including by shipping critical items to entities under US sanctions in Russia, as well as companies in Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia that it accused of shipping high priority items to Russia.

The Treasury also targeted Russia’s acquisition of explosive precursors needed by Russia to keep producing gunpowder, rocket propellants and other explosives in Wednesday’s action, including through sanctions on two China-based suppliers sending the substances to Russia.

The US also accused Russia of violating a global ban on chemical weapons.

The State Department also expanded its targeting of Russia’s future ability to ship liquefied natural gas, or LNG, one of the country’s top exports.

It designated two vessel operators involved in transporting technology including gravity based structure equipment, or concrete legs that support offshore platforms, for Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project.

Smoke rises from a damaged private building following a missile strike in Odesa, Ukraine. (EPA PHOTO)

The State Department also targeted three people in connection to the death of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the best known domestic critic of President Vladimir Putin, who died in February in a Russian Arctic prison.

Russian authorities say he died of natural causes. His followers believe he was killed by the authorities, which the Kremlin denies.

Wednesday’s action targeted the director of the correctional colony in Russia where Navalny was held for the majority of his imprisonment, as well as the head of the solitary confinement detachment and the head of the medical unit at the colony where he was imprisoned before his death.

The officials oversaw the cells where Navalny was kept in solitary confinement, the walking yard where he allegedly collapsed and died and Navalny’s health, including in the immediate aftermath of his collapse, the State Department said.