U.S. Hits Russian Entities, Hundreds Of Sanction Evaders, Including Azerbaijani National, With New Sanctions

U.S. Hits Russian Entities, Hundreds Of Sanction Evaders, Including Azerbaijani National, With New Sanctions

The Biden Administration on Friday followed through its pledge to drop the largest sweeping package of sanctions on Russia – more than 500 of them, as TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

Most of the sanctions were originally listed against Russian government and business entities, as well as sanction evaders, to mark the second anniversary today of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. A few, however, were added this week to punish those involved in the death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalniy in Russian Penal Colony IK-3: the prison warden, regional prison head, and deputy director of Federal Penitentiary Service.

In a statement, President Biden framed the latest tranche of penalties as a response to Vladimir Putin's “death and destruction,” asserting that if he does not pay a price “he will keep going. And the costs to the U.S, along with its Allies and partners around the world, will rise,” as he put it.

The latest package also includes secondary sanctions targeting hundreds of those helping Russia’s financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and other sanctions evaders across multiple continents. Among them, an Azerbaijani national Mehti Gafar Zada was also targeted.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department's records, Mr Gafar Zada is the CEO of Kyrgyz Republic-based Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoy Otvetstvennostyu Ukon, which has sent aircraft components and U.S.-origin aircraft parts in violation of U.S. export control regulations to Russia-based end-users.  OFAC’s (Office of Foreign Assets Control) action against Ukon and Gafar Zada "is the result of close and ongoing collaboration with the Bureau of Industry and Security and Customs and Border Protection," reads the Treasury Department statement.

The U.S. is also imposing nearly 100 new export restrictions, blocking the shipment of items to Russia in a warning to exporters that they can face American sanctions for facilitating such deliveries to Russia. In the meantime, for the first time since the war began in 2022, the State Department is issuing a business advisory to assist companies in making informed decisions regarding the risks of conducting business in Russia.

Later on Friday the U.S. Treasury Department separately announced the designation of Russian state-owned Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest shipping company. “Today, we take the next step by targeting Russia’s largest state-owned shipping company and fleet operator, dealing a huge blow to their shadow operations. We are entering the next phase of increasing Russia’s costs in a responsible manner to mitigate risks," Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a separate announcement.

Additionally, the Biden administration said the latest sanctions will target Russia’s energy profits, and that the U.S. will “strengthen support for civil society, independent media, and those who fight for democracy around the world.”

Biden in his statement further called for American congress members to pass the $95 billion national security supplemental that includes more than $60 billion in funding related to supporting Ukraine — the majority of those dollars earmarked for U.S. weapons production to backfill supplies already sent to Ukraine.

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