The United States yesterday imposed sweeping new measures against Moscow over the war in Ukraine, targeting Russia’s future energy capabilities, sanctions evasion and a suicide drone that has been a menace to Ukrainian troops and equipment, among others, in sanctions on hundreds of people and entities.
The latest measures target a major entity involved in the development, operation and ownership of a massive project in Siberia known as Arctic-2 LNG, the State Department said in a statement. The project expected to ship chilled natural gas, known as liquefied natural gas to global markets.
Washington also targeted the KUB-BLA and Lancet suicide drones being used by the Russian military in Ukraine, designating a network it accused of procuring items in support of their production as well as the creator and designer of the drones.
The Biden administration yesterday added a dozen Russian companies to a trade blacklist for supporting Russia’s military with drones that could be used to aid in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Commerce Department said in a statement.
The US also cracked down on sanctions evasion in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China, as the Treasury Department said companies based in the countries continue to send high priority dual-use goods to Russia, including components Moscow relies on for its weapons systems.
Seven Russia-based banks and dozens of industrial firms were also hit with sanctions by the Treasury Department, including Gazpromneft Catalytic Systems LLC, which Treasury said manufactures chemical agents for advanced oil refining in Russia.
The Kremlin said yesterday ahead of the action that it expected the West to impose ever tougher sanctions on it over the war, but that there was a growing sense that such penalties hurt Western interests while Russia’s economy was adapting well.
With the sanctions on the sanctions on limited liability company Arctic LNG 2, and previous measures imposed on the project in September, the US is trying to target Russia’s upcoming energy production, similar to how it targeted its future deep-sea, shale and Arctic oil production after Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. All of these hard-to-produce projects depend on Western technology.
The US, itself a large LNG producer that exports to Europe, is also trying to reduce Russia’s LNG shipments to Europe, which has only banned Russian gas sent via pipeline.
Arctic-2 LNG has been expecting to start exporting soon and it is uncertain how much Russian LNG would be blocked by the new measures. The largest Russian LNG producer Novatek said in September it would start shipments from Arctic-2 LNG early next year.
The US, European Union and other Western nations have imposed rafts of sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine, including targeting Russian banks and President Vladimir Putin, as the partners seek to hold Russia to account for the conflict that has killed thousands and reduced cities to rubble.
“We will continue to use the tools at our disposal to raise the cost for Russia of waging this war and promote accountability for its atrocities and abuses in Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.