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US imposes sanctions on Russia over Ukraine war, Navalny’s death

In an act of retaliation to the death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, late on Friday, imposed sanctions against Russia, targeting more than 500 people and entities.

The US Treasury Department targeted nearly 300 people and entities, while the State Department hit over 250 people and entities and the Commerce Department added over 90 companies to the Entity List.

US President Joe Biden said the sanctions are to ensure Russia President Vladimir Putin “pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home”. The sanctions are the largest single tranche of penalties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The European Union, Britain and Canada also took action against Russia on Friday.

The White House had promised major sanctions in response to Navalny’s death last week in an Arctic penal colony. Biden had met Navalny’s wife and daughter on Thursday, and held Putin responsible for his death.

The sanctions targeted Russia’s Mir payment system, financial institutions and its military industrial base, sanctions evasion and future energy production among other areas.

The US also imposed sanctions on Russia’s leading tanker group, Sovcomflot, accusing it of violating the G7’s price cap on Russian oil. Fourteen crude oil tankers, in which Sovcomflot has an interest, too were targeted. The move is an attempt to reduce Russia’s revenues from oil sales, which the latter can use to support the invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury Department said. Russia is one of the world’s top oil exporters.

With Ukraine facing an acute shortage of ammunition, the Biden administration is pushing for military aid which has been delayed for months in the US Congress.

Russia strikes a defiant note

Meanwhile, Russia continued to strike a defiant note despite the fresh sanctions. “Doesn’t Washington realise that sanctions won’t take us down?” Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, was quoted as saying on his embassy’s channel on the Telegram messaging app.

Source: The Week