US slaps new sanctions on Russia targeting officials, oligarchs, Putin yachts

Photo Credit: Reuters

Biden administration imposes sweeping economic penalties on Russian targets.

The US announced sweeping new sanctions against Russia on Thursday, targeting a broad array of individuals and entities, including four yachts with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The vessels in which Putin “has an interest” include the Russia-flagged Graceful and Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia, according to the Treasury Department. It said Putin “has taken numerous trips” on the boats, including a Black Sea trip in 2021 in which he hosted Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenko.

Their registered owners, including individuals and financial entities, have also been placed under financial penalties. Two other boats “linked to Putin,” — the Shellest and Nega — were also sanctioned along with their owners.

The coordinated intra-agency actions span a gamut of targets, including Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and Alexey Mordashov, the leader of private investment firm Severgroup, who is one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires. The firm is also being added to the US blacklist.

God Nisanov, a real estate investor who is one of the wealthiest individuals in Europe, is being designated for his close ties to Russian officials, as is oligarch Evgeny Novitskiy, according to the State Department.

“Russia’s elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s senior official for financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“Today’s action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests. We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves,” he added.

Yacht brokerage Imperial Yachts SARL, which specializes in superyachts and which has ties to senior Russian officials including Putin’s inner circle, is being designated along with its Russia CEO Evgeniy Borisovich Kochman. The business’ largest yacht available for sale, Flying Fox, is also being placed under US sanctions.

Sergei Roldugin, “a custodian of President Putin’s offshore wealth” has also been sanctioned, according to the Treasury Department.

The actions are just the latest imposed by the US in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, which is nearing the 100-day mark. More than 4,100 civilians have been killed and nearly 5,000 injured during the war, according to UN estimates. The true tolls are feared to be considerably higher.

The Commerce Department separately imposed a spate of measures intended to restrict the Russian military’s ability to replenish its stocks. That includes imposing export restrictions on 71 entities and banning them from receiving US-origin items or other foreign-made products with US technology or software.

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