Saturday, May 25, 2024

US imposes sanctions on hundreds of individuals, firms over Russia’s war in Ukraine

The United States has put new sanctions on hundreds of individuals and firms linked to Russia’s war in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of illegally using chemical weapons against Kiev forces.

US officials on Wednesday announced measures targeting more than 280 entities in their latest effort to paralyse Russia’s military and industrial capabilities, including 20 firms based in China and Hong Kong.

The measures come as US President Joe Biden’s administration has been sounding the alarm about growing military cooperation between China and Russia.

The Chinese companies targeted by the measures include a Chengdu-based firm accused of exporting drone parts to Russia and a Hong Kong-based firm accused of supplying parts found in Russian missile systems and UAVs.

The sanctions also target individuals linked to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, and non-Russian entities located in Belgium, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

The measures come on the heels of Biden singing a long-delayed bill to fund Kyiv’s military resistance against Russian forces.

“Today’s actions will further disrupt and degrade Russia’s war efforts by going after its military industrial base and the evasion networks that help supply it,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement, adding that the sanctions would complement US efforts to “bolster Ukraine’s courageous resistance”.

The US Department of State on Wednesday also accused Russia of using the choking agent chloropicrin and “riot control agents” in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Chloropicrin, which is used in warfare and as a pesticide, can cause “immediate, severe inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat, and significant injuries to the upper and lower respiratory tract”, according to the US National Institutes of Health.

“The use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident, and is probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield,” the State Department announced.

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