The White House is imposing new sanctions on Russia, targeting 7 Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin as it accused Russia of further escalating the crisis in Ukraine, despite an agreement to quell the violence.
The administration is taking the steps “in response to Russia’s continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine’s democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
He noted that Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union at a meeting in Geneva on April 17 agreed to a number of steps to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including refraining from further violence, but that since that date “Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis.”
The U.S. made clear it would impose additional costs on Russia if it failed live up to the agreement, Carney said. The steps taken today include imposing targeted sanctions on a number of Russian individuals and entities and restricting licenses for certain U.S. exports to Russia.
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That includes sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle, who will be subject to an asset freeze and a U.S. visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin’s inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze.
In addition, the Department of Commerce has imposed additional restrictions on 13 of the companies by imposing a license requirement with a presumption of denial for the export, re-export or other foreign transfer of U.S.-origin items to the companies.
Further, Commerce and the State Department have announced a tightened policy to deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities, Carney said. The departments also will revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions.
“The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine,” Carney said.
He said the U.S. “working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation.”
Administration officials said they plan to step up what they called “very robust” sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy should Russia move troops into Ukraine. An executive order Obama signed March 20 authorizes Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in sectors of the Russian economy, such as financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense.
“If there is further Russian military intervention in Ukraine, we are prepared to sanction entities under this authority,” Carney said.
Per Treasury, today’s targets include:
* Oleg Belavantsev, whom Putin appointed Russia’s Presidential Envoy to Crimea;
* Sergei Chemezov, who was appointed by a presidential decree on November 26, 2007 as the Director General of the State Corporation for Promoting Development, Manufacturing and Export of Russian Technologies High-Tech Industrial Products, also known as Rostec. Rostec is a Russian state-owned holding company and has not been sanctioned. Chemezov is a trusted ally of President Putin, whom he has known since the 1980s when they lived in the same apartment complex in East Germany. Sergei Chemezov was one of the Russian Government’s nominees for the Board of Directors of Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company. He was selected for the Rosneft Board on June 20, 2013.
* Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, a position that he has held since October 2008, and to which he was reappointed by presidential decree in May 2012. Kozak has served in a number of capacities in the Russian Federation since 1999, including as Chief of the Government Staff and Minister of Regional Development.
* Evgeniy Murov, director of Russia’s Federal Protective Service and an Army General. Murov has worked in Russian state security services since 1971 and became Head and Director of the Federal Protective Service in May 2000.
* Aleksei Pushkov, a deputy of the State Duma since December 4, 2011. He is also the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs.
* Igor Sechin, president and chairman of the Management Board for Rosneft, Russia’s leading petroleum company, and one of the world’s largest publicly-traded oil companies. Rosneft is a state-owned company and has not been sanctioned. Sechin was formerly the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation from 2008 until 2012. Additionally, from 2004 until 2008, Sechin was the Deputy Chief of Staff for President Putin. Sechin has shown utter loyalty to Vladimir Putin - a key component to his current standing.
* Vyacheslav Volodin, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to move into Crimea is believed to have been based on consultations with his closest advisors, including Volodin.
* InvestCapitalBank and SMP Bank: controlled by Arkady and Boris Rotenberg who were sanctioned last month for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation.
* Stroygazmontazh (SGM Group) a gas pipeline construction company owned or controlled by Arkady Rotenberg. Rotenberg created SGM Group in 2008 after acquiring multiple Gazprom contractors.
* The Volga Group is being designated for being owned or controlled by Gennaddy Timchenko. Timchenko was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661 for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation. Timchenko is the sole shareholder of the Volga Group, an investment strategy group that holds interest in a variety of assets on behalf of Timchenko.
* Transoil, a Russia-based rail freight operator that specializes in the transportation of oil and oil products. Transoil is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Aquanika (Russkoye Vremya LLC) a Russia-based mineral water and soft drink company. Aquanika is being designated because it is owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko. Aquanika produces drinks under several trade names including Aquanika.
* Sakhatrans LLC, a transportation company engaged in the construction of the bulk terminal for coal and iron ore exports in Muchka Bay near Vanino in Russia’s far east. Sakhatrans LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Avia Group LLC is involved in ground infrastructure for the Business Aviation Center at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow offering aircraft maintenance services, including aircraft storage and organization support services for flight operations. Avia Group LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Avia Group Nord LLC provides management services for corporate aviation at Pulkovo International Airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Avia Group Nord LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Stroytransgaz Holding, a holding company for construction assets. Stroytransgaz Holding is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Stroytransgaz Group, a Russian construction group, comprising a number of business entities that specialize in different aspects of the construction industry. Stroytransgaz Group is designated for being owned or controlled by the Volga Group and Timchenko.
* Stroytransgaz OJSC, an electricity construction company. Stroytransgaz OJSC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
* Stroytransgaz-M LLC is an industrial construction company focused on oil, gas, petrochemical, and other civil engineering projects. Stroytransgaz-M LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
* Stroytransgaz LLC is an infrastructure construction company. Stroytransgaz LLC is designated for being owned or controlled by the Stroytransgaz Group, the Volga Group, and Timchenko.
* The Limited Liability Company Investment Company Abros, owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya. Bank Rossiya was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661 for acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation. Bank Rossiya was also designated for being owned or controlled by Yuri Kovalchuk, who was designated on March 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13661.
* CJSC Zest is being designated for being owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya.
* JSB Sobinbank is being designated for being owned or controlled by Bank Rossiya.
The White House says as a result of today’s action, any assets of the individuals and entities designated that are within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States involving the individuals and entities designated are generally prohibited, Treasury said.