The US unveiled a new layer of sanctions on Russiatargeting services, the Russian propaganda machine and its defense industry on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s planned Victory Day parade.
The new measures were announced when leaders of the G7 Group of Industrialized Democracies held a virtual summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a show of solidarity.
They are mainly intended to close loopholes in the existing sanctions and to tighten the noose around the Russian economy a few more steps.
The new sanctions include:
*A ban on the sale of US services to Russia, such as accountancy and management consulting
*No more US advertising or sale of broadcasting equipment to three Kremlin-controlled television stations
*Prohibition of export of technology, including industrial engines, bulldozers and other items that can be used by Russian defense factories
*Visa restrictions on an additional 2,600 Russian and Belarusian individuals, including military officials and executives of Sberbank and Gazprombank
In imposing a ban on services, the US joins the UK, which has a similar announcement last week† The two countries provide the vast majority of services, such as accountancy and management advice, to Russian companies.
The Biden administration sees American service providers as possible instruments that Russia could use to circumvent the sanctions already imposed.
“They have been asked by Russian companies to help them figure out how to reframe their business strategies in the wake of sanctions, in some cases how to circumvent these sanctions, or, in the case of accountants, how to manage some of their hide wealth. and we’re closing that,” said a senior government official.
Like the UK, the restrictive measures not applicable to lawyersbut the US official said that could change, and that Washington and London are coordinating their steps in that regard.
“At least for the time being, we have decided that if there was a desire to seek a fair trial through a US attorney, we would allow it,” the official said. “But we are re-evaluating the scope of these sanctions for services every day, and depending on how we see behavior changing over time, we can certainly broaden the sanctions.”
The new media sanctions will target three Kremlin-controlled propaganda channels: Channel One, Russia-1 and NTV. US companies are no longer allowed to sell equipment such as video cameras or microphones, and US advertising on their channels is banned. Last year, US companies bought $300 million worth of ads in the Russian market.
“Many of these advertisers have announced since the invasion that they will be ceasing their business with these stations, but we want to make sure that decision stands and send a broader message that US companies should not engage in funding Russian propaganda,” senior a senior government official who briefed the press prior to the announcement.
The export bans on new technology on industrial items such as heavy engines and bulldozers are intended to impact Russia’s war effort by hitting the supply chain for defense manufacturers. The US claims that Russia’s two major Russian tank factories, Uralvagonzavod Corporation and Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, have already been forced to shut down production due to a lack of foreign components.
The 2,600 new visa restrictions on individuals include military officials and Russian proxies believed to have played a role in the invasion, and there will be a new visa policy that will automatically apply to military or nominee officials involved in human rights violations.
The targeted sanctions will also hit eight executives of Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, and 27 of Gazprombank, owned by Russia’s giant gas industry. So far, Gazprombank has been left untouched for its role in facilitating European purchases of Russian natural gas.
“This is not a complete block. We are not freezing Gazprom Bank’s assets or prohibiting any transaction with Gazprombank,” the senior government official said. “What we are signaling is that Gazprombank is not a safe haven, so we are sanctioning some of their top executives, people who are at the top of the organization, to create a chilling effect.”