WASHINGTON – The United States on Tuesday blacklisted seven Russian businessmen and eight companies and government enterprises over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine, the U.S. Treasury said in a statement.
The sanctions come a month before U.S. President Barack Obama hands over power to President-elect Donald Trump, who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and said it would be good if the two countries could get along.
Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of state, Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson, has opposed U.S. sanctions on Russia, which awarded him a friendship medal in 2013.
In Tuesday’s statement, the U.S. Treasury named seven Russian men, six of whom it said were executives at Bank Rossiya or its affiliates ABR Management and Sobinbank. Bank Rossiya and Sobinbank were sanctioned in 2014, and ABR Management was sanctioned in 2016.
The seventh man, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, has “extensive business dealings” with the Russian defense ministry, Treasury said.
The U.S. actions bar American individuals or companies from dealing with the sanctioned people or companies.
In addition, Treasury named 26 subsidiaries of Russian Agricultural Bank and gas producer Novatek, both of which had already been sanctioned in 2014. U.S. sanctions on those companies are relatively narrow, and prohibit Americans from dealing in certain kinds of debt with them.
Novatek is Russia’s largest nonstate gas producer. Its chief executive and major shareholder is Leonid Mikhelson, one of Russia’s richest men.
“Today’s action is in response to Russia’s unlawful occupation of Crimea and continued aggression in Ukraine,” John Smith, acting director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.
“These targeted sanctions aim to maintain pressure on Russia by sustaining the costs of its occupation of Crimea and disrupting the activities of those who support the violence and instability in Ukraine.”
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