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New U.S. Sanctions Target Supporters of Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The U.S. Departments of State and Treasury imposed new sanctions against more than 280 entities that support Russia’s military efforts and chemical weapons programs as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues for a third year.

The sanctions were placed on hundreds of firms that have been linked to Russia’s weapons development program, including firms based in outside countries that have helped Moscow secure weapons components, such as for unmanned areial vehicles (UAVs), the Associated Press reported. Drone attacks have been used by Russia to target critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including a nuclear power plant. 

Among those entities are 16 firms from China and Hong Kong, which are accused of helping Russia find ways to circumvent earlier penalties. Companies in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Slovakia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates were also accused of helping Russia purchase equipment and technology from abroad. The sanctions will prohibit these companies from using the U.S. financial system, and American citizens are barred from dealing with these entities.

“The Chinese companies targeted by the measures include a Chengdu-based firm accused of exporting drone parts to Russia and a Hong Kong-based firm accused of supplying parts found in Russian missile systems and UAVs,” according to Al Jazeera.

In response, China said that it would respond with “necessary measures” and claimed the U.S. sanctions were smearing Chinese companies, Agence France Presse reported.

The Hong Kong-based companies allegedly involved in supplying UAV components include Finder Technology Limited, which sold Russia 293 shipments of electronic integrated circuits in 2023, including ones with UAV applications; RG Solutions Limited, which provided microelectronics; and Tulun International Holding Limited, which resold Global Navigation Satellite Systems to Russia, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Regarding chemical weapons, on 1 May the U.S. State Department accused Russia of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention in its use in Ukraine of chloropicrin, a choking agent that has been used in wars and as a pesticide. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chloropicrin can irritate the eyes, airways, and skin, with severe irritation resulting in coughing, choking, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Severe exposure to the agent can result in someone dying due to a buildup of fluid in his or her lungs.

The State Department also determined that Russian forces used other “riot control agents as a method of warfare in Ukraine,” according to a fact sheet published yesterday. “…The use of such chemicals is not an isolated incident, and is probably driven by Russian forces’ desire to dislodge Ukrainian forces from fortified positions and achieve tactical gains on the battlefield.”

The sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department also targeted foreign suppliers of cotton cellulose and highly flammable byproduct nitrocellulose—two compounds Russia uses to create gunpowder, rocket propellants, and other explosives.

“The Senate, meanwhile, gave final approval to legislation barring imports of Russian uranium, boosting U.S. efforts to disrupt Russia’s war in Ukraine,” the AP reported, adding that President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill. “…About 12 percent of theuranium used to produce electricity at U.S. nuclear power plants is imported from Russia.”

The sanctions also targeted three individuals who are accused of having a connection to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny while he was a prisoner in a Russian penal colony.