More Russian elites sanctioned, properties blocked, disinfo sources muzzled in latest Treasury actions

More sanctions on Russian elites and their family members, blocking of certain properties held by them (including yachts and aircraft), and sanctioning of Russian intelligence-directed disinformation outlets were announced Thursday by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the State Department.

In a press release, the agencies said the actions were taken to continue their campaign against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s affiliates in response to the “premeditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.” The Treasury also revealed that it intends to share financial intelligence about sanctioned oligarchs with the Department of Justice as part of effort to “freeze and seize assets” Russian assets.

“The elites sanctioned continue to provide direct and indirect support to the Government of the Russian Federation (GoR) through their business empires, wealth, and other resources,” the agencies said in a release. “The aid of these individuals, their family members, and other key elites allows President Vladimir Putin to continue to wage the ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Blocked as part of today’s action are three Russian elites, two of their spouses, three of their adult children, six of their companies, one of Russia’s largest privately-owned aircraft, and one of the world’s largest superyachts.”

The Treasury also said that addition to sanctioning elites, OFAC designated 26 Russia- and Ukraine-based individuals and seven Russian entities in connection with Russia’s efforts to promulgate disinformation and influence perceptions.

The action follows OFAC’s Jan. 20 sanctions, Treasury said, which identified Russian agents that took part in activities that attempt to destabilize the Ukrainian government, and builds on sanctions imposed on April 15, 2021, for Russian-backed efforts to attempt to influence U.S. elections.

Russian intelligence services, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), employ disinformation outlets and intelligence service affiliates to spread false narratives that advance Russian strategic objectives to destabilize Ukraine and falsely justify the Kremlin’s activities. The individuals and entities designated today have played various roles in Russia’s global influence campaign, including in Ukraine.

The agency also said the State Department is also imposing substantial costs on Russia’s defense enterprises by sanctioning 22 defense-related firms. “These far-reaching sanctions target a wide range of Russian defense enterprises, including entities that develop and produce fighter aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, electronic warfare systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia’s military,” the agency said. “These sanctions strike at the core of Putin’s war machine.”

Treasury Sanctions Russians Bankrolling Putin and Russia-Backed Influence Actors