WASHINGTON: The United States will impose new sanctions on Russian oligarchs Thursday, a source familiar with the latest effort to pressure the Kremlin into stopping its invasion of Ukraine told AFP.
The sanctions, first reported by Bloomberg, will match earlier EU measures against Russia’s wealthiest figures and expand them to include a travel ban to the United States and also prevent oligarchs from transferring their assets to family members, the source said.
The EU sanctions announced on Monday targeted key, wealthy figures in President Vladimir’s regime. These included Igor Sechin, head of state oil giant Rosneft, and Nikolay Tokarev, boss of pipeline mammoth Transneft.
Three men ranked within Russia’s 10 top richest by Forbes were also added: metals magnate Alexei Mordashov, tycoon Alisher Usmanov, and businessman and Putin friend Gennady Timchenko.
In addition there were also top bankers Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven.
Russian troops enter strategic Ukrainian port of Kherson
Plus there was Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and long-time Putin confidante accused of “‘shuffling’ at least $2 billion through banks and offshore companies as a part of Putin’s hidden financial network.
Putin’s longtime spokesman Dmitry Peskov was also on the list.
The United States and its European allies intend to inflict financial pain on the Russian elite as a way to get to Putin, who has made himself all-powerful during two decades in power and seemingly invulnerable to outside pressure.
The oligarchs — government officials and business owners who have amassed vast wealth inside an economy where only Putin loyalists can get ahead — are vulnerable because much of their wealth is tied to Western interests.
They own prestigious property in New York, sports clubs across the West, enormous yachts in the Mediterranean and send their children to the most expensive US universities, while traveling in luxury around the world.