Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro, speaks in an interview during the opening press conference of the World Chess Tournament on March 9, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

US President Joe Biden’s administration on Tuesday took a series of actions targeting Russian elites – including several with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin – in its latest attempt to penalize the Kremlin for its ongoing war in Ukraine.

In a statement, the Treasury Department announced a new round of sanctions against a number of oligarchs, a major steel production company and two of its subsidiaries, as well as a financial institution accused of carrying out a circumvention operation. Sanctions and its Director General.

Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions against three oligarchs, a Russian state-owned company overseen by the Russian Ministry of Transport, “four individuals and one entity operating illegally on Ukrainian territory in collaboration with Russia” and 24 Russian military defense and technology-related entities.

The United States is also imposing visa restrictions on 893 Russian Federation officials and “31 foreign government officials who acted in support of Russia’s alleged annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean region and thereby threatened or violated sovereignty of Ukraine,” Blinken said.

Many designations announced by the United States target oligarchs who were previously sanctioned by allies like the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the European Union. The actions come as the war in Ukraine nears its sixth month.

“While innocent people suffer from Russia’s unlawful war of aggression, Putin’s allies have enriched themselves and funded opulent lifestyles,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “The Treasury Department will use every tool at its disposal to ensure that Russian elites and Kremlin enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost countless lives.”

The oligarchs sanctioned by the State Department on Tuesday are Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko and Dmitry Aleksandrovich Pumpyanskiy. The Axioma yacht has been identified as blocked property in which Pumpyanskiy has an interest, the State Department said in a fact sheet.

According to this fact sheet, Ponomarenko “is an oligarch with close ties to other oligarchs and the construction of Vladimir Putin’s seaside palace” who has already been sanctioned by the UK, EU, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Among the oligarchs sanctioned by the Treasury Department on Tuesday is Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev, the Russian billionaire founder of the chemical company PhosAgro and a former government official described by the Treasury as “a known close associate” of Putin. It is also sanctioned by the UK and, according to the US Treasury, it “owns the Witanhurst estate, which is the second largest estate in London after Buckingham Palace”.

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday identified the yacht Alfa Nero, believed to be owned by AG Guryev, as blocked property.

Another close ally of Putin, Alina Maratovna Kabaeva, was sanctioned on Tuesday. Kabaeva is a former member of the State Duma and the current head of the National Media Group, “a pro-Kremlin empire of television, radio and print organizations”. According to the Treasury Department, “it has also been sanctioned by the EU and the UK”.

AG Guryev’s son, Andrey Andreevich Guryev, was also sanctioned by the United States on Tuesday, having previously been sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as was his investment company Dzhi AI Invest OOO.

Natalya Valeryevna Popova was sanctioned “for having operated or having operated in the technological sector of the economy of the Russian Federation, and for being or having been an officer, official, senior manager or member of the board of directors of LLC VEB Ventures “, which is a sanctioned entity. She was also sanctioned for being the wife of Kirill Aleksandrovich Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. He and the RDIF were sanctioned in the days following the start of the war.

Joint-stock company Promising Industrial and Infrastructure Technologies, “a financial institution owned by Russia’s Federal Agency for State Property Management”, and its chief executive Anton Sergeevich Urusov were sanctioned on Tuesday for allegedly evading sanctions.

According to the Treasury Department, “JSC PPIT attempted to facilitate the circumvention of sanctions imposed on the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).”

The Treasury Department has sanctioned Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat (MMK), described as “one of the largest steel producers in the world”, the chairman of its board of directors Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov – who was also sanctioned by Australia, Canada, EU, Switzerland and UK — and two of MMK’s subsidiaries.

“MMK is one of Russia’s largest taxpayers, providing a substantial source of revenue for the government of the Russian Federation,” the Treasury Department said. The agency has allowed a liquidation period for transactions with MMK and one of its subsidiaries.