More economic sanctions were placed on individuals and companies linked to Russia as part of America’s continued effort to punish the country – and those who support it – for invading neighboring Ukraine last February.
This latest round of sanctions included more than 120 different entities, several of which are located in other countries.
On April 12, Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, issued a statement that read:
“The United States will continue to take action against Russia and those supporting its war in Ukraine.”
These additional sanctions, according to Blinken, reflect the “commitment to impose severe consequences on third-country actors” who are working to support the war Russia is waging in Ukraine. That commitment is not just from the United States but the other Group of 7, or G-7, nations.
G-7 is a political forum of some of the leading countries in the world, including Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Britain and the United States. Every country in this group has been solidly behind Ukraine throughout the entirety of the war.
The only member of the group that isn’t part of the NATO alliance is Japan.
In commenting on these latest sanctions, Anatoly Antonov, who serves as the Russian ambassador to the U.S., said they were just another act of desperation from the West. He said:
“Washington’s convulsive attempts to ‘punish’ Russia merely confirm the inability of the U.S. authorities to make our country abandon our vital national interests.”
The sanctions came from the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, and were done in conjunction with the government of the United Kingdom. One of the main focuses of these sanctions is Alisher Usmanov, a Russian Uzbek businessman.
Officials with the Treasury Department say he commands “a wide network of businesses … through which to conduct financial transactions, enabling him to potentially circumvent sanctions.”
Another target of the sanctions is a company called USM Holdings, which is one that Usmanov owns. Many of his different subsidiary companies are also the target of these sanctions.
It includes a cement company based in Uzbekistan as well as an iron producer from Russia that has subsidiaries located in the United Arab Emirates as well as Switzerland.
USM also owns a company called MegaFon, which is a telecommunications company based in Russia that’s also a target of the sanctions. It’s the first time any authority in the United States has specifically targeted the telecommunications infrastructure of Russia through sanctions.
In a statement that MegaFon issued recently, the company said:
“We are a commercial company providing millions of clients with services of high social significance. We will dispute these restrictions by all means available to us.”
A private military company in Russia that the United States says has associations with Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister of Russia, was also included in the target.
Back in January, the U.S. expanded the sanctions they had already placed on the infamous Wagner Group, another private military company linked to Russia.