SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON
The United States marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Friday with $2 billion in weaponry for Kyiv and new sanctions against Russia aimed at undermining Moscow’s ability to wage war.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled the sanctions as the Group of 7 bloc of wealthy nations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met to discuss more aid.
Among the steps were placing visa restrictions on Russian military members, freezing assets of allies of President Vladimir Putin, effectively banning aluminum imports from Russia, curbing Russian banking and arms-making activity and putting the country’s second largest mobile phone company Megafon on a trade blacklist.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, said the sanctions would have no effect, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
Additional measures could be imposed at a later date, U.S. officials said.
The administration also sent a message to China and other countries that they should not try to help Russia evade sanctions.
“We will sanction additional actors tied to Russia’s defense and technology industry, including those responsible for backfilling Russian stocks of sanctioned items or enabling Russian sanctions evasion,” the White House said.
The aid to Ukraine fell short of providing the F-16 fighter jets that Kyiv has requested and some U.S. officials are raising doubts about the ability of such measures to slow the increasing hostilities on the battlefield ahead of an anticipated springtime offensive.
Antonov said the new sanctions were “thoughtless” and designed to make Russia suffer.
“Does anyone really think that this is the way to get our country to abandon its independent policies?” RIA quoted him as saying to reporters.
After the G7 meeting, the leaders issued a statement on “our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes” including with more potential sanctions.
European Union countries later overcome internal disagreements and announced a 10th round of sanctions.
The U.S. State Department’s sanctions included Russian Cabinet ministers and dozens of governors and regional chiefs.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s new measures hit 22 Russian individuals and 83 entities, adding to more than 2,500 sanctions imposed over the past year.
SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON