The new restrictions seek to limit Russia’s ability to evade sanctions imposed after its invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the United States and the United Kingdom announced new sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich, targeting the financial networks of two of Moscow’s richest businessmen, who are close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
US officials said the new designations, which were coordinated with the British government, are intended to bolster existing sanctions and disrupt Russia’s import of critical technologies used in its war against Ukraine.
The Departments of State and Treasury announced sanctions against 120 entities and individuals in more than 20 countries and jurisdictions linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The UK has named 14 individuals and entities.
“We are closing the net on the Russian elite and those trying to help them hide their money for the war,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement. “There is no place to hide. We will continue to isolate them from assets they thought were successfully hidden.”
Usmanov and Abramovich were early targets of Western sanctions targeting key Russian sectors and individuals close to Putin.
Usmanov has been under US and European sanctions since shortly after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Abramovich, who made a fortune in Russia’s oil and aluminum industries after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, was forced to sell Chelsea football club after being cited last year.
Germany previously seized Usmanov’s luxury yacht, known as Delbar.
The yacht, named after Usmanov’s mother, was valued at between $600 million and $735 million, according to the Treasury Department. Dilbar has two helipads and one of the world’s largest indoor swimming pools ever installed on a yacht, and costs about $60 million a year to operate.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that the new sanctions cited the Youth Army of the Patriotic Military Public Movement for Children and Youth of Russia and the state budgetary institution of additional education of the Republic of Crimea.
Blinken claimed that the two organizations “support Russia’s efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity through the militarization and indoctrination of school children.”
The Treasury Department also slapped sanctions on the International Investment Bank, a Russian-controlled financial institution in Budapest, Hungary — a rare move aimed at a NATO ally and further evidence of the increasingly fraught relationship between the United States and Hungary.
Three current or former bank executives — Russian citizens Nikolai Nikolayevich Kosov and Georgy Nogzazarovich Potapov, as well as Hungarian citizen Imre Laszloczky — are listed for sanctions.
A US Treasury statement said the bank “enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe, opens the door to the activities of the Kremlin’s malign influence in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, and can serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit financing, including sanctions violations.”
At a press briefing in Budapest, the US ambassador, David Pressman, said the Hungarian government had ignored pleas from multiple US administrations to withdraw its stake in the bank.
“The presence of this opaque Kremlin platform in the heart of Hungary threatens the security and sovereignty of the Hungarian people, their European neighbors and their NATO allies,” Pressman said. “Unlike other NATO allies previously engaged with this Russian entity, Hungary has dismissed the US government’s concerns about the risks its continued presence poses to the alliance.”
The journalist had earlier raised concerns about escalating anti-American rhetoric among some prominent Hungarian politicians and in media allied to the government.
The ambassador noted that the far-right administration of Prime Minister Viktor Orban – widely considered to be Putin’s staunchest defender in the EU – was borrowing from “Russian propaganda” when discussing the war in Ukraine and was dividing NATO unity in its support for Kiev.
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