US slaps sanctions on Russian financial elite

The United States has imposed sanctions on four Russian businessmen as means of trying to pile up pressure on Moscow over the latter’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine.

The US Treasury Department enacted the measures on Friday, identifying the targets as people linked to the Russian financial and investment conglomerate Alfa Group, and saying that the targeted individuals had served on Alfa’s supervisory board.

The department named the individuals as Petr Olegivich Aven, Mikhail Maratovich Fridman, German Borisovich Khan, and Alexey Viktorovich Kuzmichev.

It also imposed sanctions on the Russian Association of Employers the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), a Russia-based organization involved in the technology sector of the Russian Federation’s economy.

Commenting on the new sanctions, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said they were part of “a failing restrictive policy” and the White House “could not destroy our economy and undermine technological sovereignty.”

Moscow says it started the war in order to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev, and also to “de-Nazify” its neighbor.

Russia holds that the West’s anti-Russian agendas, including its eagerness for inclusion of Ukraine in NATO — and, therefore, the Western military alliance’s expansion right up to Russia’s borders — forced Moscow to launch the war on Kiev.

Ever since the beginning of the war, Western countries, led by the United States, have been levying sanctions against Russia, while pumping Ukraine full of tens of billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons, steps that Moscow says would only complicate the standing situation and prolong the hostilities.

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