The U.S. sought to tighten sanctions on Russia on Sunday by placing a black line of financial executives and restricting the provision of professional services, even as the EU struggles to complete its latest package of punishments.
The U.S. first targeted executives at Gazprombank, while banning companies from providing Russia with corporate services such as accounting and consulting.
However, diplomats said Hungary had continued to delay progress in Brussels over the EU’s sixth package of sanctions, which would include a gradual oil embargo aimed at blackmailing Moscow’s cash resources.
With Russia preparing for Victory Day Celebrations On Monday, the G7 and its allies sought to toughen economic pressure on President Vladimir Putin’s regime. US President Joe Biden met on Sunday with his G7 counterpart and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zalansky as part of a coordinated demonstration of support for a war-torn country.
A senior Biden administration official said the new US sanctions were aimed at 27 executives of Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest lender and a subsidiary of state-owned energy company Gazprom. But the measures did not freeze the company’s assets or ban deals with it as this is the main way Russia is selling gas to Europe.
“We are imposing sanctions on some of their senior business executives, they are the people who head the organization, to create a chilling effect… We do not want Gazprombank to look like a safe haven,” the Biden administration official said.
Sberbank executives are also targeted, while Russian officials accused of human rights abuses will face visa restrictions. The new U.S. package bans companies from providing accounting, consulting and other services to Russia to try to prevent Moscow from reformulating business strategies to circumvent Western sanctions.
The EU has also tried to push through its latest package of sanctions, which will include a gradual ban on Russian crude oil, as well as measures on professional services. But a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels on Sunday ended without an agreement, meaning the 27 member states will continue to negotiate this week.
Diplomats stressed that progress had been made, but Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Schiarto said Budapest was not yet ready to agree to the oil ban.
“We have voted in favor of all the sanctions packages so far, but the latter will destroy the security of energy supply in Hungary, which is still on solid ground,” Szijjártó wrote on Facebook. “As long as there is no solution to the problem posed by the Brussels proposal, we will not vote in favor of this package.”
Under EU proposals, most countries will have to ban Russian oil within six months, but Hungary and Slovakia will have to by the end of 2024 and the Czech Republic will be offered by June 2024.
The first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, made a surprising trip to Ukraine on Sunday, as another sign of Washington’s backing after the United States stepped up Assistance to The country in recent weeks. She met the first lady of Ukraine Olena Zlanska in a town near the border with Slovakia.
The ban on U.S. professional services is affecting the four major accounting firms and consulting firms that have done so Start pulling out Of Russia. The exits could last several months, company officials said.
Legal services will not be included in the ban, the senior administration official said, so companies seeking fair treatment through U.S. attorneys can continue to do so. The official added that this may change in the future.
The U.S. has also blacklisted eight Russian shipping companies and other maritime companies, which the U.S. says have supported Russia’s efforts to re-supply troops, occupy the Crimea and exploit energy reserves. The US has blocked 69 ships associated with these companies.
The US package includes new export controls and sanctions on three of Russia’s most popular state television channels. It also bans the export of industrial engines, bulldozers and other industrial supplies, the official said. The EU will impose export restrictions on chemicals.
“These new controls will further restrict Russia’s access to the components it needs to renew and renew its military capabilities,” the senior administration official said.
US places sanctions on Gazprombank executives for first time Source link US places sanctions on Gazprombank executives for first time