US sanctions Russian-backed officials for ‘enabling theft of Ukrainian grain’

“Today’s action includes the designation of 22 Russian representatives, including five who oversaw the seizure or theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain, exacerbating food insecurity around the world,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

The top US diplomat also said actions are being taken against “major Russian defense entities, advanced technology companies that support Russia’s defense industrial base and financial infrastructure,” as well as “against Russia’s military intelligence agency and individuals connected to human rights violations.” , both in the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine and also within Russia.”

The State Department sanctions were one of the actions taken by the Biden administration against Russia on Thursday. According to a State Department fact sheet, individuals convicted of their role in the grain thefts were appointed to leadership positions in some of the occupied regions of Ukraine. As CNN reported in May, Russian forces have stolen farm equipment and thousands of tons of grain from the areas they occupied.

The new sanctions come the week before the United Nations General Assembly, when the Biden administration will ask world leaders — again — to double down on increasing aid support amid a global food crisis it has partly caused. war in Ukraine In addition to stealing grain from Ukraine, Russia also effectively blocked grain that was ready to leave the country’s ports when the war broke out. Grain-laden ships began leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in August after the United Nations and Turkey struck an export deal, but the Biden administration continues to watch the space closely.

According to a fact sheet, the sanctions included a Russian, Oleksandr Fedorovych Saulenko, “who was appointed by the Russian government as the mayor of Berdyansk and oversaw the theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain through the port of Berdyansk.”

The sanctions also hit Yevhen Vitaliiovych Balytskyi, “who was appointed by the Russian government to head the Zaporizhzhia military-civilian administration and oversees the seizure of Ukrainian grain from the Zaporizhzhia Region”; Andriy Leonidovich Siguta, “appointed head of the military-civilian administration of the Melitopol District by the Russian government and overseeing the seizure of Ukrainian grain in Melitopol”; Anton Viktorovich Koltsov, “appointed head of the military-civilian government of the Zaporizhzhia Region and oversees the theft of Ukrainian grain”; and Valery Mykhailovych Pakhnyts, “appointed by the Russian government to be the head of the Starobilsk District of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and overseeing the theft of Ukrainian grains.”

In addition to the grain theft sanctions, the State Department also sanctioned “three major Russian military space entities that play key roles in strengthening Russia’s defense capabilities,” several entities in Russia’s technology and electronics sectors, and reappointed Russia’s Central Intelligence Agency. Directorate (GRU)

The additional sanctions rolled out on Thursday are part of an effort to go after Russia’s defense industrial capability, going after the country’s high-tech industries and electronics companies.

“Many of the weapons systems operated by the Russian military use sophisticated electronics, and Putin has publicly expressed his concerns about Russia’s access to microelectronics after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. To increase pressure on Russia’s electronics sector, the State Department is designating a number of advanced Russian electronics entities is,” says the sheet.

For example, one of the electronics companies now sanctioned is Radiosvyaz Joint Stock Company Research and Development Company, which carries out activities for the Russian Ministry of Defense, the State Department said.

Separately, the Treasury Department sanctioned 22 individuals and two entities for their role in Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, both before and during the war.

Among those sanctioned Thursday was “Task Force Rusich,” a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has fought alongside the Russian military in Ukraine, as well as two of its top leaders, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The sanctions also target a Russian official who “led Russia’s efforts to deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.”

The US also named Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, along with his three wives, three daughters and his cousin.