US sanctions Russian oligarchs, warns Putin on missile attacks

President Biden says Russian oligarchs enrich themselves from people's money while Ukranians live in subways. Photo from the White House
  • New sanctions freezes assets of eight members of Russian elite and their families
  • Russians capture Zaporizhzhia nuke plant after heavy shelling sets facility on fire
  • Media regulator restricts online access to Russian editions of BBC and other foreign new outlets

US President Joe Biden imposed new sanctions on March 4 on eight members of the Russian elite and their families, in his latest attempt to punish President Vladimir Putin for bloody Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which entered its night day on March 5, CNN reported.

Biden also warned Putin for intensifying the invasion with indiscriminate missile attacks that set fire to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the biggest in Europe, and devastated residential blocks and hospitals in Ukrainian cities. The Russians captured the facility on March 4.

The bombings followed Putin’s warning Ukrainian civilians leave the country as his troops would step up the offensive. The UN Organization for Migration said refugees who had fled the war now total more than 1.2 million.

In Moscow, media regulator Roskomnadzor restricted online access to Russian-language editions of BBC, Deutsche Welle, the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Svoboda, and other global media outlets.

Russian lawmakers on Friday adopted a bill providing up to 15 years in jail for any publication of “fake news” about Russia’s military.

Biden announced the sanctions after a Cabinet meeting at the White House. He accused the targeted oligarchs of enriching themselves with Russian people’s money while Ukraine and its people are hiding in subways from missiles that are being fired indiscriminately.

“Our interest is to maintain the strongest unified economic campaign on Putin in all history, and I think we’re really on the way to doing that,” Biden said.

The new list of individuals described as “Putin’s cronies and their family members” will be cut off from the US financial system, their assets in the US will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use, according to a fact sheet from the White House.

There will be full blocking sanctions on eight Russian elites and their family members and associates. The list includes Putin ally Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov.

The US is also sanctioning Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, whom the White House describes as “a top purveyor of Putin’s propaganda.”

The US and governments all over the world will work to identify and freeze the assets Russian elites and their family members hold in our respective jurisdictions — their yachts, luxury apartments, money, and other ill-gotten gains, the fact sheet said.

The White House said the US will also impose visa restrictions on 19 oligarchs and 47 of their family members and close associates. That will target oligarchs “known to direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out maligning activities in support of Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy.”