The United States imposed new economic sanctions on Russian financial interests Thursday, targeting one of the country’s richest businessmen, Vladimir Potanin, and his family, in the latest effort to pressure Moscow over its war against Ukraine.
Potanin was once Russia’s deputy prime minister, and the U.S. said he has direct ties to President Vladimir Putin. Potanin, 61, controls Interros, an investment holding company the U.S. said has sweeping interests across the Russian economy, including 36% ownership of Nornickel, the world’s largest palladium and refined nickel producer.
The U.S. also blocked Potanin from use of Nirvana, the yacht worth hundreds of millions of dollars that he partially owns. Britain and Canada had previously imposed sanctions against him.
In addition, the U.S. Department of State blacklisted Rosbank, a Russia-based commercial bank it said Potanin acquired earlier this year, along with 17 subsidiaries of Russian VTB, the country’s second largest bank.
Brian Nelson, the Department of the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement, “By sanctioning additional major Russian banks, we continue to deepen Russia’s isolation from global markets.”
He said the U.S. sanctions, “together with actions taken by our international partners, will further inhibit the Putin regime’s ability to fund its horrific war against Ukraine.”
The State Department also imposed sanctions on members of the board of directors of the state-owned Russian Railways, members of the government, including the governor of the Moscow region and their family members.
The sanctions freeze whatever U.S. assets those blacklisted might hold, and generally bar Americans from any financial deals with them.
The newest sanctions follow a lengthy list of sanctions the U.S. and its allies have imposed on Russian oligarchs and other key business leaders since Putin invaded Ukraine last February. But there has been no indication the financial pressures that the individuals might be facing have influenced Putin to curtail Russia’s war effort.
Whatever the sanctions’ effect in Russia may or may not be, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the United States would continue “to impose costs on Russia for its war of aggression against Ukraine.”
“Our actions today are a clear message that the United States will not hesitate to continue to use the tools at our disposal to promote an end to, and accountability for, President Putin’s unconscionable war,” Blinken said.