The US pronounces new Russia sanctions in response to Ukraine’s annexation

President Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Delaware.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday announced fresh economic sanctions against hundreds of Russian officials and entities in response to the Kremlin’s illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

“Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy,” President Joe Biden said in a statement criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of restoring a Soviet-style Russian empire.

“I call on all members of the international community to oppose Russia’s illegal annexation attempts and stand by the Ukrainian people for as long as is needed,” he said, promising that America and its allies would hold the Kremlin to account.

The new sanctions target several front companies outside Russia that were set up this year to help major Russian military suppliers evade the sanctions they were already facing.

The new designations also extend sanctions against senior Kremlin officials to include their wives and adult children. After seven months of war and economic sanctions, these revisions offer a glimpse of what US officials believe is working.

The Ministry of Finance named 14 international suppliers that support Russia’s military supply chains. In addition, 109 members of the State Duma of Russia and 169 members of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation were appointed.

Also new on Friday is Elvira Sakhipzadovna Nabiullina, Russia’s central bank governor and former Putin adviser. Since 2013, she has overseen efforts to protect the Kremlin from Western sanctions after Russia illegally seized Crimea in 2014, according to the Treasury Department.

The newly sanctioned family members are the relatives of members of Russia’s National Security Council. These include the wife and two adult children of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and the wife and adult children of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will impose visa restrictions on Ochur-Suge Mongush over a gross human rights abuse committed against a Ukrainian prisoner of war and 910 people. The department will also impose visa restrictions on members of the Russian military, Belarusian military officials and deputies working on behalf of the Kremlin.

In addition, the Department of Commerce adds 57 companies to its export control list. It is again noted that penalties will be imposed on countries trying to provide material support to the defense sector of Russia and Belarus.

Announcing the annexations in Moscow on Friday, Putin declared that “there are four new regions of Russia,” referring to Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.

Citing mock referendums held in Russian-occupied territories, Putin said voters agreed to become parts of Russia. These voices are widely considered manipulated and illegitimate by Western officials.

“The results are known, well known,” Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to formally annex four Russian-held regions of Ukraine at the Kremlin in Moscow September 30, 2022.

Gavriil Grigorov | AFP | Getty Images

Earlier this week, the White House said the US would never recognize the results of the “sham referendum” and would continue to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced $1.1 billion in additional security aid to Ukraine. The forthcoming aid package, the 22nd tranche of its kind, totals more than $16.2 billion since the Russian invasion in late February.

After Putin’s speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would make an “accelerated” application for his country to join the NATO military alliance.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Kharkiv region of Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s attacks on his country on February 24, 2022, May 29, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

“We’ve already made our way to NATO, we’ve already demonstrated compatibility with alliance standards,” Zelenskyy said on messaging app Telegram, referring to the technical elements of integrating Ukraine’s military into the 30-member defense alliance. “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” he added.

In dramatic remarks to the 77th UN General Assembly last week, Zelenskyy called for more guns as his nation wages an epoch-making struggle for democratic principles and global order. Specifically, he called for long-range weapons, heavy artillery, and air defense systems.

Zelenskyy, who hasn’t left his war-weary nation since Russia’s invasion in February, received nearly a minute of applause and a standing ovation. His speech came just after Putin announced plans to recruit hundreds of thousands of Russian men for the war.

Putin’s order for some 300,000 Russians to join the fight marks the first time Moscow has conscripted civilians into the military for a war since World War II.

The Kremlin’s decision to push through a partial draft was prompted in part by a series of startling Ukrainian advances in recent weeks.

Armed with an arsenal of Western weaponry, Ukrainian forces have recaptured large areas occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war. Their successes on the battlefield have tarnished the reputation of the Kremlin’s mighty war machine.

But as Ukraine struggles to retake the land village by village, the cost to civilians is huge.

According to United Nations estimates, the Russian invasion has so far claimed the lives of nearly 6,000 civilians and injured more than 8,600. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights adds that the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher.

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