The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions targeting a sanctions-evasion network connected to Russia's military-industrial complex. Photo by Kremlin Pool/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The administration of President Joe Biden blacklisted 10 people and 12 companies on Wednesday as it tightens its financial grip on Russia over its war in Ukraine.
The 22 entities were blacklisted on accusations of being part of an international sanctions-evasion network supporting Russia's military-industrial complex.
"Russia's desperate attempts to utilize proxies to circumvent U.S. sanctions demonstrate sanctions have made it much harder and costlier for Russia's military-industrial complex to re-supply [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's war machine," Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
"Targeting proxies is one of many steps that Treasury and our coalition of partners have taken, and continue to take, to tighten sanctions enforcement against Russia's defense sector, its benefactors and its supports."
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Biden administration and its allies have repeatedly leveled sanctions against Moscow, which have not only appeared to have taken a bite out of Russia's economy but also its ability to wage war. Russia has reportedly been forced to turn to North Korea and Iran to supply it with arms as its stockpiles dwindle amid the protracted conflict.
Both countries have denied involvement, but Tehran has been widely accused of arming the Kremlin with drones that have been used to target Ukraine's cities and critical infrastructure. Pyongyang has been accused of selling Putin rockets, artillery shells and other weaponry.
The sanctions announced Wednesday by the departments of Treasury and State target a sanction-evasion network run by Russia and Cyprus-based arms dealer Igor Vladimirovich Zimenkov, 54.
Officials said those involved in the network are connected to Russian defense capabilities and have supplied Russian companies with high-technology devices following its invasion of Ukraine.
Members of the network have also supported arms exporter Rosoboronexport and State Corporation Rostec, both of which are Russian-state owned and subject to U.S. sanctions.
Among those blacklisted include Zimenkov's 28-year-old son, Jonatan Zimenkov. Biden administration officials said the two Zimenkovs work closely together and have been involved in multiple deals for Russian cybersecurity and helicopter sales abroad and worked directly with potential clients of Rosoboronexport, among other allegations.
According to a fall fact sheet from the U.S. State Department, the Biden administration has issued some 1,500 new and 750 amended Russian-related sanctions since February of last year.
Treasury on Wednesday said more than 100 people and entities have been blacklisted over the last year for attempting to evade sanctions and export controls imposed on Moscow.
The federal department said its actions Wednesday were part of its commitment to the Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs Task Force, better known as the REPO Task Force, which is an international coalition that works to track Russian assets and sever Russian proxies and their enablers from the international financial system.
"It has become increasingly difficult for Russia's military-industrial complex to re-supply the Kremlin's war machine, forcing it to rely on nefarious suppliers, such as Iran and the DPRK," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, while referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"By trying to use proxies to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Russia demonstrates that our sanctions are having impact," Blinken said.
"Our work will continue."
Firefighters conduct work while smoke rises from a building after it was attacked by Russian drones in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo