The United States on Thursday imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs “who continue to support President Vladimir Putin despite his brutal invasion of Ukraine,” the Joe Biden administration said.
Eight new members of the “Russian elite” and their relatives will see their eventual assets in the United States frozen and their access to the American financial system blocked.
They are in particular Alisher Usmanov, one of the richest people in Russia and a close ally of Putin, and Dmitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman and “one of the main purveyors of propaganda” for the Kremlin, the White House said.
In Usmanov’s case, the measures will affect “his superyacht, one of the largest in the world, and which has just been confiscated by Germany, and his private jet, one of the largest private planes in Russia,” according to a statement. .
Also sanctioned were Nikolai Tokarev, CEO of Transneft, a heavyweight in the oil and gas sector; Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, two brothers from a family considered very close to Putin; Sergei Chemezov, head of the oil industry conglomerate Rostec Defense; Igor Shuvalov, director of VEB, the Russian development bank; and Yevgeniy Prigozhin, another close friend of the Kremlin.
They join the Russian personalities already sanctioned last week by the United States, to align the US list with the sanctions of the European Union, which since Monday include several of these names, a source close to the matter told AFP.
Washington had already sanctioned Russian businessmen, close to the Kremlin and even Putin last week.
The new measures include the direct relatives of those sanctioned to prevent them from transferring their properties to their relatives.
At the same time, 19 Russian oligarchs and 47 members of their families are banned from entering the United States, the White House said without publishing their names.
This new wave of US punitive measures comes as several of these billionaires are under pressure or beginning to distance themselves from the war started by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.
President Biden vowed Tuesday night during his State of the Union address to Congress to go after Russian oligarchs’ “ill-gotten gains” and seize their “yachts, luxury apartments and private planes.”
In coordination with its European allies, Washington thus created a cell of investigators on Wednesday in charge of persecuting them and, possibly, seizing these luxury goods.
“These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russians,” “and are in charge of providing the necessary resources to support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” estimates the US executive.
“Treasury will share its financial intelligence and other evidence, when appropriate, with the Department of Justice to support criminal prosecutions and asset seizures,” the White House said.