Fresh US sanctions hit Putin's staff, banker

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Mar 20, 2014 23:08 IST

The United States announced fresh sanctions against Russia on Thursday, this time targeting individuals both in and out of government and a bank favored by them.

They included president Vladimir Putin’s personal aides, and close advisers — called “cronies”, colloquially — and a man considered to be his personal banker.

Read: Crimea crisis: West, Russia issue sanctions

President Barack Obama also signed an executive order that will enable the US to slam sanctions on key sectors of the Russian economy, which could impact global economy.

That step will be initiated only if there was “substantial escalation” in the region, a senior administration official said: if Russia moved forces into south or eastern Ukraine.

The expanded sanctions named 19 individuals — 16 senior officials, including three presidential aides, and three members of President Putin inner circle..

Eight of them were already on the list of 21 named earlier in the week by EU. The US had on March 17 earlier named 11 people — seven Russians and four Ukrainians.

The 20th entity designated on Thursday was Bank Rossiya. US officials said its largest shareholder, who was among these sanctioned, is a personal banker to Putin.

Their bank accounts and assets in the US will be frozen, with consequences that go far beyond the country’s borders. And Americans will be barred from doing business with them.

Announcing the fresh sanctions, Obama said they were the result of “choices the Russian government has made, choices that have been rejected by the international community”.

And, he warned, there will be more.

The new order he issued, for instance, would allow the US to target specific sectors of the Russian economy such as energy, financial services, metal and mining, defense and engineering.

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