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US issues new Russia sanctions targeting people, entities for evading existing sanctions

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participates in the UN Security Council Open Debate on Multilateralism, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2021. (State Department Photo by Freddie Everett)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States imposed another round of sanctions on April 20, this time hitting more than 40 people and entities for allegedly attempting to evade penalties previously imposed on Russia.​

The latest list includes a Russian commercial bank, a virtual currency mining company, and Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, who is accused by U.S. authorities of financing Russians promoting separatism in Crimea.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department charged Malofeyev with violating sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Malofeyev was previously sanctioned by the United States in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

The United States and its allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow since it launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The latest round announced by the United States is aimed at targeting the evasion of those previously implemented sanctions, the department said in a statement.

“Treasury can and will target those who evade, attempt to evade, or aid the evasion of U.S. sanctions against Russia, as they are helping support Putin’s brutal war of choice,” said Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“The United States will work to ensure that the sanctions we have imposed, in close coordination with our international partners, degrade the Kremlin’s ability to project power and fund its invasion,” Nelson said in the statement.

The move targets the holding company of Moscow-based bitcoin miner BitRiver, which operates a data center in Siberia, and 10 of the holding company’s Russia-based subsidiaries, the Treasury Department said.

The department also put sanctions on Russian commercial bank Transkapitalbank, whose representatives it said have suggested ways to evade international sanctions. Transkapitalbank serves several banks in Asia, including in China, and the Middle East, the department said. Its subsidiary, Investtradebank, was also designated.

The action freezes any U.S. assets held by those designated and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

Separately, the U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions on more than 600 people, barring them from traveling to the United States. The move is aimed at promoting accountability for human rights abuses and violations, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Three Russian officials were among those hit with visa restrictions over “gross violations of human rights” they perpetrated against human rights defender Oyub Titiev, formerly the head of the Grozny office of the Memorial Human Rights Center in Chechnya.

In addition, 48 people believed to have violated the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of Ukraine were hit with visa restrictions alongside 17 others accused of undermining democracy in Belarus.

“We will use every tool to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine,” Blinken said.