US sanctions Russian oligarchs, Kremlin spokesman

Washington, Mar 3 (EFE).- The United States on Thursday announced sanctions on eight Russian oligarchs and their families, including mining magnate Alisher Usmanov, regarded as particularly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Department of State also prohibited entry into the US to 19 Russian oligarchs and their relatives, while the Treasury blocked potential assets under US jurisdiction belonging to seven Russian organizations and 26 people who are promoting “disinformation” about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Joe Biden said that the sanctions already imposed on Putin and people in his orbit have “had a profound impact.”

“The goal was to maximize the impact on Putin and Russia and minimize the harm on us and our allies and friends around the world,” he said before the start of a Cabinet meeting.

Some in Congress have urged Biden to bar imports of Russian oil and gas, but the administration argues that such a move would increase energy prices for US consumers.

The new restrictions are designed to overlap with the list of oligarchs sanctioned on Monday by the European Union.

The main difference between the European and US sanctions is that the latter also affect the family members of the oligarchs because Washington wants to avoid, insofar as is possible, the members of the Russian elite transferring their wealth to others to get around the sanctions.

Usmanov is a magnate in the metals sector and one of the richest men in Russia and the world, with a fortune that Forbes magazine currently estimates at more than $14 billion.

German authorities on Wednesday seized a superyacht valued at almost $600 million that was owned by Usmanov.

Along with Usmanov and Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, the list includes Nikolai Tokarev, the CEO of Transneft, an important Russian petroleum and natural gas firm, and also two real estate companies owned by him, along with his wife and daughter.

In London, the United Kingdom on Thursday announced new sanctions against Usmanov and the former vice president of Russia, Igor Shuvalov.

Effective immediately, all their assets under British jurisdiction will be frozen and they will be banned from entering the UK, the British Foreign Office said in a statement, estimating that the fortunes of the two men amount to about $19 billion.

The government has now imposed economic sanctions on 11 Russian oligarchs as well as assorted banks and companies.



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