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WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Friday announced new economic sanctions on hundreds of Russian officials and entities in response to the Kremlin’s illegal occupation of four regions of Ukraine.
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“Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy,” President Joe Biden said in a statement criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of rebuilding the Soviet-style Russian Empire.
“I urge all members of the international community to reject illegal attempts to annex Russia and to stand with the people of Ukraine as long as it is necessary,” he said, calling on the US and its ally the Kremlin. Will hold you accountable.
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The new sanctions target several major companies outside Russia that were created this year to help major Russian military suppliers avoid sanctions they have already faced.
The new designations expand restrictions on top Kremlin officials to include their wives and adult children. After seven months of war and economic sanctions, these amendments provide a window into what US officials believe is working.
The Treasury Department designated 14 international suppliers who supported Russia’s military supply chains. It also imposed designations on 109 members of the State Duma of Russia and 169 members of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Also new on Friday is the addition of Elvira Sakhipzadovna Nabiullina, the governor of Russia’s central bank and a former adviser to Putin. According to the Treasury Department, since 2013 after Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, it has overseen its efforts to protect the Kremlin from Western sanctions.
The newly accepted family members are relatives of the members of the National Security Council of Russia. These include the wife and two adult children of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the wife and adult children of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Meanwhile, the State Department will impose a visa ban on Ochur-Suz Mongush, a Ukrainian prisoner of war and 910 individuals for felony human rights violations. The department will also impose visa restrictions on members of the Russian military, Belarusian military officers and proxies acting on behalf of the Kremlin.
In addition, the commerce department is adding 57 entities to its export control list. It will reiterate that countries that wish to provide material assistance to the defense sector of Russia and Belarus are subject to penalties.
Announcing the annexations on Friday in Moscow, Putin declared that “Russia has four new regions,” referring to the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson.
Putin, citing a fake referendum held in Russian-occupied territories, said voters approved of Russia becoming a part of. Those votes are widely viewed by Western authorities as rigged and illegitimate.
“The results are known, well known,” Putin said.
Earlier this week, the White House said the US would never accept the results of a “false referendum” and would continue to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced $1.1 billion in additional security aid for Ukraine. The upcoming aid package, the 22nd such installment, brings US commitments worth more than $16.2 billion since Russia’s invasion in late February.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said after Putin’s address that he would submit an “expedited” application for his country to join the NATO military alliance.
“We have already made our way to NATO, we have already proven compatibility with coalition standards,” Zelensky said on Telegram messaging app, referring to the technical elements of integrating Ukraine’s military into a 30-member defensive alliance. “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for an accelerated merger with NATO,” he said.
Making dramatic remarks before the 77th UN General Assembly last week, Zelensky called for more weapons as his nation wrestles an era-defining battle for democratic principles and a global order. He specifically asked for long-range weapons, heavy artillery and air defense systems.
Zelensky, who has not abandoned his war-weary nation since being invaded by Russia in February, received nearly a minute of applause and a standing ovation. His speech came shortly after Putin announced plans to recruit hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers for the war.
Putin’s order for nearly 300,000 Russians to join the fighting is the first time since World War II that Moscow has enlisted civilians for war.
The Kremlin’s decision to implement a partial draft was triggered by a series of surprise Ukrainian advances in recent weeks.
Armed with an arsenal of Western weapons, Ukrainian forces have retaken vast areas of territory occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war. His battlefield successes have tarnished the reputation of the Kremlin’s mighty war machine.
But as Ukraine struggles to capture land one village at a time, civilians have paid a heavy price.
So far, the United Nations estimates that Russia’s invasion has claimed nearly 6,000 civilian lives and injured more than 8,600. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says the death toll in Ukraine is likely to be higher.