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US imposes more sanctions on Russia

The US Department of the Treasury has added 13 individuals and 21 new companies to its list of Specially Designated Nationals to be sanctioned under the Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to a notice posted to its website on Thursday. The agency has also removed two companies from the list.

The new companies have been added for allegedly falling under the umbrella of the Russian Federation’s aerospace, electronics, and maritime sectors.

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Individuals involved in those sectors have been subject to sanctions since last April, and the latest round allows for sanctions to be placed on any individual or entity “determined to operate or have operated in any of those sectors.”

Today’s sanctions are a part of the Administration’s comprehensive response to Russia’s to restrict their access to resources, sectors of their economy that are essential to supplying and financing the continued invasion of Ukraine,” according to the Treasury’s press release.

Most of the sanctioned individuals are Russian citizens linked to the companies that are being added to the list. One of the designated entities is the Vector Scientific Research Institute, which produces software and communications technology equipment, having been founded over a century ago as Russia’s oldest radio engineering operation. The new restrictions also target the Molecular Electronics Research Institute, which is part of Russia’s largest scientific and technological research conglomerate, focused on micro- and nano-electronics as well as the development and manufacture of semiconductors. Serniya is a major engineering and equipment manufacturer that specializes in research and development across Russia’s high-tech industries. Photon Pro is an aerospace and engineering company focused on developing telemetry and digital control systems, telecoms, data transfer, and other electronics research and development areas. The fresh sanctions list also includes Joint Stock Company Mikron, Russia’s largest chipmaker and biggest manufacturer and exporter of microelectronics. 

Two subsidiaries of Ozon Bank were successfully able to have themselves removed from the Specially Designated Nationals list after making the argument that its inclusion as an entity related to the sanctioned entity Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company was no longer relevant, given that Ozon had bought out its share of the company. Ozon is a major e-commerce platform offering a wide range of categories of retail goods for sale and delivery, similar to Amazon.com. It also trades in the US under the symbol OZON.

READ MORE: Anti-Russia sanctions may weaken the US dollar – IMF

While the Biden administration has sought to cut Russia off from the high-tech industry, particularly with regard to its military, some politicians, including former US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles, American economist James Rickards, and Deputy Chairman of Russia’s National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev have warned that the sanctions will effectively have a “boomerang effect,” and indeed the ruble has regained a sizable portion of the value it initially lost in the wake of the US’ and Europe’s first rounds of sanctions that followed the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. 

The value of the Russian currency has recovered in recent days, as President Vladimir Putin has called on Europe and other “unfriendly” oil and gas customers to pay for their fuel in rubles.

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