The United States sanctions the daughters of Vladimir Putin and two of the main Russian banks | International
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There was still ammunition in the arsenal of the sanctions that the United States, the member countries of the G-7 and the European Union are using against Russia for the war in Ukraine. The trigger was the shocking images from Bucha, a kyiv suburb from which Russian troops withdrew last weekend, leaving behind what President Joe Biden has described as “war crimes”. The massacre has led to the announcement this Wednesday of new punishments, aimed, according to a White House statement, at “prohibiting new investments in Russia”, increasing financial difficulties for the operations of its “biggest bank” and pursuing wealth government officials and some of their families. Among these, the two “adult” daughters of President Vladimir Putin, Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova stand out. In practice, it means that they will be isolated “from the financial system of the United States and that their assets in the country are frozen.”
The list of natural persons punished by the United States is extended by the wife and daughter of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as members of the Russian Security Council, including former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister current minister, Mikhail Mishustin, whom Washington accuses of having “enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people.” The United Kingdom, for its part, has also announced that it is increasing the list of oligarchs in its sights, with eight new names, including Moshe Kantor and Andrei Guriev, fertilizer tycoons, Sergei Sergeivich Ivanov, president of the world’s largest diamond producer, and Leonid Mikhelson, founder of the natural gas company Novatek.
The White House statement also details a total blockade of the country’s largest financial institution, Sberbank, which accounts for a third of the sector in Russia, as well as its largest private bank, Alfa Bank, which implies the freezing of assets. of both institutions that are in contact with the US system. It also prohibits US citizens from doing business with them. To this blockade of Sberbank is also added London, which adds the Moscow Credit Bank among its objectives. British Foreign Minister Lizz Truss also promised on Wednesday that coal and oil imports would cease before the end of the year.
“President Biden,” the statement announces, “will sign a new executive order that includes a ban on new investment in Russia by Americans wherever they are, and that will further isolate Russia from the global economy. This action is based on the decision made by more than 600 multinational companies to leave the country.” That, Washington trusts, will ensure the lasting weakening of the global competitiveness of the Russian Federation.
The new package of sanctions will also attack the finances of the “major Russian state-owned companies”, whose names will be known on Thursday, when they are released by the Treasury Department, which also prohibits Russia from dealing with its sovereign debt “with funds”. subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. “Now they will have to choose between exhausting their available reserves to pay the debt or failing to meet the deadlines,” according to the statement released by Washington, which pledges to continue supporting humanitarian activities in Ukraine: “Guarantee the availability of basic food and agricultural products , safeguard access to medicines and medical devices, and enable telecommunications services to support the flow of information and access to the internet.” The latter is intended to make it easier for Russian citizens to inform themselves through foreign media and other sources of information.
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Experts cited by the White House calculate that these measures, added to the previous waves of sanctions imposed since the beginning of the offensive on February 24, will contribute to Russia’s GDP contracting by up to 15% this year, which “15 years of economic gains” will be eaten. “Russia is very likely to lose its status as an economic powerhouse and a long descent into economic, financial and technological isolation will continue.”
Dismantled a network of ‘bots’
At the same time that the latest United States sanctions against Russia were announced, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, and the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, appeared before the press on Wednesday to report on the dismantling of a network of bot [cuentas automatizadas] which, they have assured, controlled the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU.
“Fortunately, we were able to take it down before it went live. Thanks to international collaboration, we’ve been able to verify the infection of thousands of devices from hardware online”, explained Garland, who has also revealed that his department has charged the ultra-Orthodox businessman Konstantin Maloféyev for evading the sanctions imposed against Russia.
According to Garland, Malofeyev, a prominent member of the elite close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, tried to avoid punishments imposed by Washington by employing collaborators to acquire and manage media outlets in Europe.
Justice Department officials also welcomed the seizure, in collaboration with the Spanish Civil Guard, of the Tango, a superyacht owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. She was moored in Palma de Mallorca.
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