US announces sanctions against Kremlin-controlled media companies and bans Russia from using some American consulting services
Originally Published: 08 MAY 22 12:02 ET Updated: 08 MAY 22 14:59 ET
(CNN) -- The US announced a slate of new sanctions against Russia on Sunday, cutting off Kremlin-controlled media outlets from American advertisers and prohibiting the country from using US-provided management and accounting consulting services, according to a senior administration official and a White House fact sheet.
President Joe Biden and the leaders of the G-7 met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday to discuss further actions the US and its allies are taking to punish Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The announcement also included new export controls against the Russian industrial sector and roughly 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials, as well as the first sanctions against executives of Gazprombank, the institution through which most of Europe buys Russian gas.
"Preventing Russia from accessing the United States' valuable professional services increases the pressure on the Kremlin and cuts off its ability to evade sanctions imposed by the United States and our partners," US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. "We are also targeting Putin's ability to generate revenue that enables his aggression, as well as entities and their leaders who support his destructive actions."
The raft of US and Western sanctions imposed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has pushed the Russian economy into a deep recession as it makes the difficult transition to becoming a closed economy.
"This is already a failure for Putin, and we're going to continue to honor the brave fighting that's taking place by Ukraine's people and listen to President Zelensky and recommit to staying the course," the senior administration official told reporters ahead of the President's meeting Sunday with G-7 leaders and Zelensky.
The official added that the call would also highlight how Russian President Vladimir Putin is "dishonoring" the sacrifices made by Soviet Russian citizens, millions of whom sacrificed their lives to defeat fascism during World War II.
"Putin is dishonoring those sacrifices by spreading his lies, his disinformation about the barbarism he is committing in Ukraine ... It's really a chance to speak the truth and demonstrate our continued unity," the official said of the call.
"Taken together, today's actions are a continuation of the systematic and methodical removal of Russia from the global financial and economic system. And the message is there will be no safe haven for the Russian economy if Putin's invasion continues," the official told reporters.
The three television networks being sanctioned by the US are Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1 and NTV Broadcasting Company. Together, they received more than $300 million in advertising revenue from Western countries just last year, according to the official.
"We're not going to be in the business of helping them broadcast the lies and the deceit that you hear from Putin every day," the official said.
The new visa restrictions apply to "2,596 members of the Russian Federation military and 13 Belarusian military officials," the US State Department said in a statement. The department said the individuals were targeted because they "are believed to have been involved in human rights abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, or public corruption in Ukraine, including in the so-called 'Donetsk People's Republic' or 'Luhansk People's Republic.'"
Notably, US legal services were not included in Sunday's ban. The US, according to the official, has decided to continue to permit the seeking of "due process," but added that the government would continue to reevaluate this "every day" and that it is waiting to see what happens following the initial services ban. The official noted that the United Kingdom also has not instituted such a ban.
The official also made sure to note that the sanctions against Gazprombank executives are just that: actions against leaders of the important financial institution and not a full sanction against the bank itself, which Europeans must do business with to continue to purchase Russian gas.
"This is not a full block. We're not freezing the assets of Gazprombank or prohibiting any transactions with Gazprombank. What we're signaling is that Gazprombank is not a safe haven. And so we're sanctioning some of the top business executives, they're the people who sit at the top of the organization, to create a chilling effect," the official said.
The decision to restrict exports of industrial products to Russia is intended to hamper the Kremlin's industrial capacity and war-making ability, similar to how Western restrictions on microchips are limiting Russia's ability to make precision guided missiles, the official said.
In addition to the export ban on Russian industrial services, the US also sanctioned Promtekhnologiya LLC, which makes weapons, including rifles used by Russian forces in Ukraine. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also no longer permit the export of uranium, plutonium or other nuclear-related products.
The G7 leaders said in a statement Sunday that they had pledged to "step up" short-term financial aid to Ukraine in the weeks ahead, as well as continue to develop options for the country's long-term reconstruction.
"In the coming weeks, we will step up our collective short-term financial support to help Ukraine close financing gaps and deliver basic services to its people, while also developing options -- working with the Ukrainian authorities and international financial institutions -- to support long-term recovery and reconstruction," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday to discuss further sanctions on Russia and about the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food security.
Kuleba said in a tweet that the US is preparing "new strong sanctions" against Russia, adding that the two diplomats "discussed ways on unblocking Ukraine's food exports and ways to enable global food security."
This story has been updated with additional information.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the amount of advertising revenue received by three Russian television networks from Western countries last year, as cited by a senior Biden administration official. It was $300 million.
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