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US sanctions Russian TV stations, prohibits accounting services after G7 leaders meet

Group of Seven flags (FreshCorp619/WikiCommons)

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

The United States has unveiled sanctions against three Russian television stations and executives from Gazprombank along with a ban on Americans providing accounting and consulting services to Russians after the leaders of the Group of 7 (G7) met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The sanctions against Channel One, Russia-1, and NTV prohibit any U.S. company from financing them through advertising or selling them equipment.

“U.S. companies should not be in the business of funding Russian propaganda,” said a senior White House official who spoke with reporters about the sanctions, which are the latest effort by the United States to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.

The sanctions also prohibit Americans from providing accounting, trust, corporate formation, and management consulting services to Russians, though providing legal services is still permissible.

The measures leveled against Gazprombank executives were the first involving the giant Russian gas exporter.

“This is not a full block. We’re not freezing the assets of Gazprombank or prohibiting any transactions with Gazprombank,” the senior White House official said. “What we’re signaling is that Gazprombank is not a safe haven, and so we’re sanctioning some of their top business executives…to create a chilling effect.”

In addition, eight executives from Russia’s Sberbank were added to the sanctions list, and Moscow Industrial Bank and its 10 subsidiaries were also added.

The package of sanctions also includes new export controls aimed at directly degrading the war effort.

The sanctions also target Promtekhnologiya, a weapons maker, along with seven shipping companies and a marine towing company. The White House also said the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would suspend licenses for exports of special nuclear material to Russia.

In a statement after their virtual meeting, the G7 leaders “reassured” Zelenskiy of their continued support for Ukraine.

“We will pursue our ongoing military and defense assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, continue supporting Ukraine in defending its networks against cyber incidents, and expand our cooperation, including on information security,” the statement said. “We will continue to support Ukraine in increasing its economic and energy security.”

The leaders also again condemned Russia’s “unprovoked, unjustifiable, and illegal military aggression against Ukraine and the indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, which has resulted in a terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the heart of Europe” and its “attempts to replace democratically elected Ukrainian local authorities with illegitimate ones.”

They pledged to “spare no effort” to hold Putin and the architects “and accomplices of this aggression,” including the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Belarus, accountable for their actions.