The United States has imposed financial sanctions on one of Russia's richest men, Vladimir Potanin, and Russian commercial bank Rosbank in another expansion of efforts to curb Moscow's ability to fund its war in Ukraine.
The designation of Rosbank, which was purchased earlier this year by an investment holding company Potanin controls, and other entities related to Russia's financial sector, are taken together with the State Department's designation of Potanin, said the Treasury Department in a statement on December 15.
The Central Bank of Russia considers Rosbank to be a systemically important credit institution to the Russian government. Britain and Canada designated Rosbank earlier this year.
In addition to Rosbank, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control is blacklisting 17 entities related to Russia's financial-services sector. These are all subsidiaries of VTB Bank, Russia's second-largest bank, which was designated for sanctions in February.
The designations "are part of the U.S. government's efforts to further limit the [Russian government's] ability to fund its unconscionable war of choice against Ukraine," the Treasury said.
"Since the start of Russia's brutal full-scale invasion in February, Treasury has taken unprecedented action to isolate Russia from the global financial system, with severe short- and long-term effects on its economy," the statement said.
Russia's economy is expected to contract this year and continue contracting in 2023, the department said.
"Beyond that, lost investment, export controls, and constraints on Russia's real economy will inhibit Russia's growth prospects for years to come," the statement added.
Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said the designations "continue to deepen Russia's isolation from global markets," and taken together with actions by international partners "will further inhibit the [Russian President Vladimir] Putin regime's ability to fund its horrific war against Ukraine."
The State Department also designated Potanin, his network, and more than 40 additional persons linked to the Russian government. Potanin formerly served as a deputy prime minister and has direct ties to Putin, according to the State Department.
The State Department's new sanctions includes members of the government, certain family members, and an entity. The department noted that governors "oversee and enforce the conscription of citizens in response to Russia’s recent mobilization order."
The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals or companies have under U.S. jurisdiction, inhibit their access to global financial markets, and bars people based in the U.S. from dealing with them, RFE/RL reports.
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