US to impose 500 new sanctions on Russia and its war machine

The US Treasury Department announced on Friday that it will impose 500 new sanctions on Russia and its war machine, as the country tries to keep up financial pressure on Moscow two years after the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions would be the largest tranche of penalties imposed on Russia since February 24, 2022, and come after the US Justice Department issued a new series of indictments and arrests targeting Russian businessmen.

The announcement is also trying to reassure Kyiv of the unwavering support from Washington after political tensions in the country have delayed the delivery of a military aid package to Ukraine. The €55 billion ($60 billion) package is still waiting for a final congressional vote to be approved.

US President Joe Biden has also promised sanctions in response to the death of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whom Russian authorities said died last week at the Arctic penal colony where he was detained. Biden said on Thursday that the sanctions would be “against Putin, who is responsible for his death.”

Also on Thursday, the US Justice Department announced charges against sanctioned Russian banker Andrei Kostin, president of state-owned VTB Bank, and “two of his US-based facilitators,” Vadim Wolfson and Gannon Bond. Kostin is accused of engaging in a scheme to evade sanctions and launder money to support two superyachts.

He, along with the two others, is also accused of trying to evade sanctions by concealing his ownership of a home in Aspen, Colorado. The indictment says Wolfson and Bond arranged to sell the house and provide Kostin with about $12 million from the sale.

“The Justice Department is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.

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