October 7, 2022

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US imposes sanctions on Russia-backed officials for 'enabling them to steal Ukrainian grain'

US imposes sanctions on Russia-backed officials for ‘enabling them to steal Ukrainian grain’


Washington
CNN

The United States announced a raft of new sanctions on Thursday, including against five individuals for “supporting or enabling the theft of Ukrainian grain” on behalf of Russia.

“Today’s action includes the appointment of 22 acting Russian officials, including five who oversaw the confiscation or theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain, exacerbating food insecurity worldwide,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement Thursday.

The senior US diplomat also said that they are “taking action against major Russian defense entities, key high-tech companies that support Russia’s defense industrial base, and financial infrastructure,” as well as against “the Russian Military Intelligence Agency and against human-related individuals. Rights violations, both in the Kremlin War against Ukraine or within Russia itself.

The State Department sanctions were one of a series of actions the Biden administration took against Russia on Thursday. According to a fact sheet issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, individuals who were punished for their role in grain theft were appointed to leadership positions in some occupied regions of Ukraine. as such CNN reported In May, Russian troops stole agricultural equipment and thousands of tons of grain from the areas they occupied.

The new sanctions come a week before the United Nations General Assembly when the Biden administration is expected to urge world leaders – once again – to redouble their efforts to provide support during the global food crisis, triggered in part by the war in Ukraine. In addition to stealing Ukrainian grain, Russia also effectively prevented grain that was already ready to leave the country’s ports from leaving for several months when the war first began. In August, ships loaded with grain began leaving Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea after an export deal was struck by the United Nations and Turkey, but the Biden administration continues to monitor the space closely.

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According to a fact sheet, the sanctions targeted Russian Oleksandr Fedorovich Solenko, who “was appointed by the Russian government as the mayor of Berdyansk and oversaw the theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain through the port of Berdyansk.”

Sanctions also hit Yevhen Vitalyovich Palitsky, who was “appointed by the government of Russia as head of the Zaporizhzhya Military and Civil Administration and oversees the confiscation of Ukrainian grain from the Zaporizhzhya region”; Andrey Leonidovich Seguta, who was “appointed by the Russian government as head of the Civil Military Administration of the Melitopol Region and oversees the confiscation of Ukrainian grain from Melitopol”; Anton Viktorovich Koltsov, who “was appointed head of the military-civilian government of the Zaporizhzhya region and oversees the theft of Ukrainian grain;” and Valery Mykhailovych Pakhnyts, “who was appointed by the government of Russia as head of the Starobilsk region of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and oversees the theft of Ukrainian grain.”

In addition to sanctions for grain theft, the State Department has also sanctioned “three leading Russian military space entities that play central roles in strengthening Russia’s defense capabilities,” a number of entities in Russia’s technology and electronics sectors, and reclassified the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)

More sanctions imposed Thursday are part of an effort to go after Russia’s defense industrial capabilities by going after the country’s high-tech industries and electronic companies.

Sophisticated electronics are used in many weapons systems operated by the Russian military, and Putin has publicly expressed concerns about Russia’s access to microelectronics after the start of Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine. To increase pressure on the electronics sector in Russia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is appointing several Russian advanced electronics entities. ”

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For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that one of the electronic companies that is now being sanctioned is the research and development company of the joint-stock company Radiosvyaz, which carries out activities for the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Separately, the Treasury Department sanctioned 22 individuals and two entities for their roles in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine before and during the war.

Among those sanctioned on Thursday were the “Rosich Task Force, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that participated in the fighting on the side of the Russian army in Ukraine, as well as two of its senior commanders,” the Treasury said in a statement.

In addition, the sanctions target a Russian official who “led Russia’s efforts to deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.”

The United States also renamed Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, along with three of his wives, three of his daughters, and a cousin.