The US State Department and Treasury announced on Thursday a large sanctions package targeting Moscow’s trade with some of Washington’s allies and partners. The aim of this new sanctions package, one of the largest yet, is to block off Russia’s access to money, financial channels and Western technology allegedly being used to bolster the Kremlin’s war effort.
Among those targeted are over 150 businesses and individuals from Russia to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Georgia. Also in the crosshairs are the Russian energy sector, including Arctic liquified natural gas projects, mining, as well as factories repairing and manufacturing Moscow’s arms.
Washington penalized a recently established company in the UAE, for instance, which is said to be providing technology and engineering for Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project. Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said that bilateral trade between the UAE and Russia grew to $9 billion last year, an increase of almost 70% during 2022.
James O’Brien, the head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, told the Associated Press that Foggy Bottom’s goal is to “restrict Russia’s defense capacity and the liquidity it has to pay for its war.”
Earlier this week, however, the New York Times reported that since Russia launched its invasion and despite the Washington-led sanctions blitz, Moscow has doubled its production of ammo and other armaments, including tanks and artillery shells. NATO and the collective West’s ammunition production capacity for Kiev is dwarfed by Russia’s which is seven times greater, according to an official with the Estonian Defense Ministry.
Nevertheless, O’Brien boasted that Washington’s economic war is succeeding, he insists “the way to measure success is on the battlefield.” But Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive has utterly failed and netted only major losses in troops and equipment with no significant gains, as Western military officials had assessed would be the case well before the offensive had begun.
Several of Washington’s partners and allies were implicated in these latest sanctions. Companies based in NATO member states Finland and Turkey were hit with sanctions because they are accused of facilitating Moscow’s sourcing of European and American electronic components, including computer chips and processors.
A “Finland-based network” was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for allegedly sending a variety of electronics to Russia such as cameras for drones and lithium batteries. The State Department targeted Turkish firms said to be providing ship repair services to a company connected with the Russian Defense Ministry.
Per the State Department, since Moscow invaded Ukraine last February, Washington has sanctioned nearly 3,000 businesses and individuals. Sanctions on Russian energy exports have thus far failed to achieve their stated aims. Since last year, Russia has become the top crude supplier to both China and India, the world’s largest and third largest oil importers.