EU Extends Russian Sanctions Six Months, New U.S Sanctions Target Russian Weapons and Technology

EU Extends Russian Sanctions Six Months, New U.S Sanctions Target Russian Weapons and Technology


The European Union has announced an extension on a range of economic sanctions aimed at Russian trade, companies, elites, officials, as well as the government structure. Additionally the United States has announced a fresh wave of sanctions aimed at individuals and firms that supply a variety of goods to Russia from largely the United Arab Emirates and Kyrgyzstan. Reporting by TASS (Russian-state owned), RFE/RFL (U.S-state funded, Western-aligned), as well reporting info from AP and Reuters.

July 20, (TASS): “The EU Council has issued a six-month extension on all economic sanctions against Russia until the end of January 2024, the Council said in its statement.

“Today, the Council decided to prolong by six months, until January 31, 2024, the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation,” the EU Council said.

The sanctions “currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on trade, finance, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods,” the Council informed. “They also cover: a ban on the import or transfer of seaborne crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia to the EU, a de-SWIFTing of several Russian banks, and the suspension of the broadcasting activities and licenses” of several Russian mass media outlets.

Sanctions were introduced for the first time on August 1, 2014 and have been renewed every six months since then based on claims that there has been no progress on the Minsk Agreement agreements. Sanctions were intensified in February 2022 as eleven new sanctions packages have been levied since then.”

July 20, (RFE/RFL): “The United States has imposed new sanctions targeting 18 individuals and more than 120 entities based in Russia and Kyrgyzstan in a move aimed at inhibiting Moscow’s access to products and technology that support its war efforts.

The entities include several based in Kyrgyzstan that the U.S. Treasury Department on July 20 said have operated as intermediaries to provide foreign-made electronics and technologies to Russia. At least six of these companies were featured in a recent investigation by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service into Kyrgyz and Kazakh companies that revealed how sanctioned Western electronics make their way to Russia via Central Asian firms.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on July 20 that, in addition to curtailing Russia’s ability to obtain technology, the sanctions aim to reduce its revenue from mining, degrade its access to the international financial system, and starve it of technology produced by the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations, particularly items needed in the aerospace and defense sectors. The latest sanctions build on a wave of global actions imposed on Moscow.

“Since Russia launched its full scale invasion of Ukraine, the United States, working with our allies and partners, has taken unprecedented steps to impose costs on Russia and promote accountability for the individuals and entities who support its illegal war,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “We will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in the OFAC news release that the actions “represent another step in our efforts to constrain Russia’s military capabilities, its access to battlefield supplies, and its economic bottom line.”

The individuals designated for sanctions include former Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, a longtime confidant of President Vladimir Putin. Kudrin headed the government’s official watchdog, the Audit Chamber, until late last year when he joined Russian tech giant Yandex. Kudrin joined Yandex during a restructuring as the Kremlin cracked down on independent news and reporting on the Ukraine war. Yandex’s search engine and main news portal were among the leading sources for Russian-language content.

Yandex ultimately decided to sell its main news and entertainment portals and undertook an attempted restructuring that would essentially split the company into a wholly Russian unit and an overlapping, but independent, foreign unit.

But that deal, which Kudrin has been intimately involved in negotiating, has been contingent on finding deep-pocketed Russian buyers for the Russian unit. Until recently, a group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs, and state investment bank VTB, were reported to be in the running to take control of the new unit. But, according to reports this week in Meduza and The Bell, Yandex’s board has been wary of falling afoul of existing U.S. sanctions that had previously targeted some of the main contenders, and the board has been casting about for other options. It’s unclear how Kudrin’s sanctioning would affect his role at Yandex or the company’s restructuring efforts. A Yandex spokeswoman declined to comment on the Treasury announcement.

The six companies designated for sanctions by OFAC that were featured in the RFE/RL investigation are LLC RM Design and Development, Basis Trade Prosoft LLC, Region-Prof LLC, ZAO GTME Tekhnologii, OOO Radiotekhsnab (RTS), and Technologies Systems and Complexes Limited (TSC). ZAO GTME Tekhnologii (GTME Tekhnologii) is a Kyrgyz-based entity established in June 2022.

It has made dozens of shipments of goods to Russia, including high-priority items such as tantalum capacitors and electronic integrated circuits, the RFE/RL investigation found. GTME Tekhnologii’s primary customer has been Russia-based TSC, a vendor of electronic and digital equipment. OFAC said LLC RM Design and Development, established in March last year, has been a “prolific shipper” of electronics such as semiconductors and integrated circuits to Russia, including to firms that have supplied electronics to Russian-based defense companies.

Earlier on July 20, Kyrgyzstan denied helping Moscow circumvent sanctions imposed over the Ukraine invasion, but did admit to “the “possible involvement of private companies” and said it was investigating the matter.

The other individuals targeted for helping to supply munitions to Russia include Russian and North Korean national Yong Hyok Rim, who is linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the mutinous leader of the Wagner mercenary organization.

Also designated are two other private Russian military companies, including Okhrana, owned by Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom. Sergei Korolev, first deputy director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), and Smolensk regional Governor Vasily Anokhin also were targeted, the State Department said.

The sanctions freeze any property in U.S. jurisdictions owned by the individuals and entities named. They also bar U.S. citizens from any dealings with the people and entities.”

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