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Saturday, October 1, 2022
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Treasury Targets Additional Facilitators of Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine

Directly and indirectly, Russia’s financial technocrats have supported the Kremlin’s unprovoked war.

as part of its continued response to Russia’s horrific war of aggression against Ukraine, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 22 individuals and 2 entities, including  multiple individuals who have furthered the Government of the Russian Federation’s (GoR) objectives in Ukraine, both prior to and during Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Also included among those being designated is Task Force Rusich, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia’s military in Ukraine, as well as two of its senior leaders.

Today’s action is being taken in coordination with those taken by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is imposing additional export control measures to further align with partners and allies, as well as by the U.S. Department of State, which is targeting Russia’s defense and high-technology industries, as well as proxy authorities.

“The United States will continue to take strong actions to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes, atrocities and aggression,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. “As Ukraine presses forward with defending its freedom, today we’re taking steps to further degrade Russia’s ability to rebuild its military, hold perpetrators of violence accountable, and further financially isolate Putin.”

FURTHER ISOLATING RUSSIA’S FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND COUNTERING EVASION

In response to Russia’s February 2022 further invasion of Ukraine, the United States and an international coalition of allies and partners took swift action to substantially sever Russia’s access to the world’s financial infrastructure. In response, Russia has scrambled to find new ways to process payments and conduct transactions. Directly and indirectly, Russia’s financial technocrats have supported the Kremlin’s unprovoked war. Today’s designations target those efforts. OFAC is also publishing a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to provide additional guidance on the heightened risk of facilitating Russia’s efforts to evade sanctions through the expanded use of the National Payment Card System (NSPK) or the Mir National Payment System, given the broad sanctions imposed on Russia’s financial system this year.

Vladimir Valerievich Komlev (Komlev) is the Chairman of the Management Board and the Chief Executive Officer of NSPK, a Central Bank of the Russian Federation owned entity that operates the country’s Mir payment card network. Russia created its own state-run card payment system in 2014 out of fear of U.S. and European sanctions. In his role, Komlev has promoted the Mir network in other countries, which ultimately could assist Russia in circumventing international sanctions.

Komlev was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy, and for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR.

Viktor Olegovich Zhidkov (Zhidkov) is the Chairman of the Management and Executive Board of Non-Bank Credit Institution Joint Stock Company National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository. In his role, Zhidkov implements NSD’s development strategy and is responsible for strengthening the depository’s role in Russia’s financial market infrastructure.

Zhidkov was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.

 

Eddie Vladimirovich Astanin (Astanin) is the Chairman of the Management Board and Chairman of the Executive Board of Joint Stock Company Non-Bank Credit Organization Central Counterparty National Clearing Center (CCP NCC), the Moscow-based stock exchange’s clearing service provider. Until 2020, Astanin also held the position of Chairman of the Executive Board and member of the Supervisory Board of the NSD.

Astanin was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.

Andrei Gennadyevich Melnikov (Melnikov) is the General Director of Russia’s Deposit Insurance Agency, a state-owned entity that the Kremlin uses for liquidating financial institutions and accessing foreign assets. Melnikov was previously designed by OFAC in 2017 pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for asserting governmental authority over any part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine.

Today, OFAC designated Melnikov pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy, and for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR.

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL INVOLVED IN DEPORTATIONS OF UKRAINIAN CHILDREN

Maria Alexeyevna Lvova-Belova (Lvova-Belova) is Russia’s Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights and, working directly under Putin, has led Russia’s efforts to deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. Lvova-Belova’s efforts specifically include the forced adoption of Ukrainian children into Russian families, the so-called “patriotic education” of Ukrainian children, legislative changes to expedite the provision of Russian Federation citizenship to Ukrainian children, and the deliberate removal of Ukrainian children by Russia’s forces.

Lvova-Belova was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR. Lvova-Belova is also sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the EU, Switzerland, and the UK.

NEW DESIGNATIONS ON RAMZAN KADYROV AND HIS FAMILY

Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov (Kadyrov), the leader of Russia’s Republic of Chechnya and a brutal warlord with reported links to previous instances of torture and murder, has mobilized Chechens to fight in Ukraine. Publicly describing himself as Putin’s “foot soldier,” Kadyrov was promoted to the rank of “lieutenant-general” for his role in Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine. Chechen units allied to Kadyrov have operated in Bucha, where Russia’s troops committed atrocities and destroyed homes. Kadyrov has recruited for Russia’s war efforts through mixed martial arts clubs, which enables him and his units to continue their activity in Ukraine.

Kadyrov has amassed extreme wealth as a result of his close relationship to Vladimir Putin. Kadyrov’s extravagance includes a home in the United Arab Emirates, a private zoo, expensive private vehicles, and a lavish slush fund.

Together with the redesignation of Kadyrov pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC took action against some of his immediate family members:

  • Medni Musaevna Kadyrova (Medni) is one of Kadyrov’s wives.
  • Fatima Shaykhievna Khazueva (Fatima) is one of Kadyrov’s wives.
  • Aminat Akhmadova (Aminat) is one of Kadyrov’s wives.
  • Ayshat Ramzanovna Kadyrova (Ayshat) is the oldest of Kadyrov’s adult daughters and engaged in cultural affairs in Chechnya.
  • Karina Ramzanovna Kadyrova (Karina) is one of Kadyrov’s adult daughters and the head of an educational institution in Chechnya.
  • Tabarik Ramzanovna Kadyrova (Tabarik) is one of Kadyrov’s adult daughters.

Medni, Fatima, Aminat, Ayshat, Karina, and Tabarik were designated for being spouses or adult children of Kadyrov. Kadyrov himself was redesignated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR. Kadyrov was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 in December 2020 and in December 2017 pursuant to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. Kadyrov is also sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Switzerland, and the UK.

OFAC also took action against Limited Liability Company Firdaws (Firdaws), which describes itself as the first “national fashion brand” of Chechnya. Firdaws is owned by Ayshat but was initially launched by Medni.

Firdaws was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Ayshat.

Additionally, OFAC designated Turpal-Ali Vakhayevich Ibragimov (Ibragimov), Kadyrov’s cousin. Ibragimov has held numerous high-ranking positions in Chechnya and has reportedly participated in the extrajudicial killings.

Ibragimov was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the GoR.

RUSSIAN NEO-NAZI MILITIA FIGHTING IN UKRAINE

Task Force Rusich (Rusich) is a neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia’s military in Ukraine, including near Kharkiv, in 2022. Rusich has a long history of fighting alongside Russia-backed proxies in the Donbas region of Ukraine, and in 2015, Rusich mercenaries were accused of, and filmed, committing atrocities against deceased and captured Ukrainian soldiers. Rusich is associated with OFAC-designated groups Private Military Company Wagner and Interregional Social Organization Union of Donbas Volunteers.

Rusich is led by Alexey Yurevich Milchakov (Milchakov) and Yan Igorevich Petrovskiy (Petrovskiy). Milchakov, who has developed a reputation for extreme brutality, was wounded in Rusich’s initial combat near Kharkiv, Ukraine in 2022. Petrovskiy, who was expelled from Norway in 2016 after being declared a threat to national security, is Rusich’s lead military trainer and replaced Milchakov as commander after his injury.

Rusich was designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners, for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the GoR. Milchakov and Petrovskiy were designated pursuant to E.O. 14024 for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of Rusich. Milchakov is also sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the EU, Switzerland, and the UK.

HOLDING ACCOUNTABLE RUSSIAN OCCUPATION AUTHORITIES ABUSING UKRAINIANS

Since Russia’s occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, prosecutors and judges operating as Russia’s occupation authorities in the so-called Republic of Crimea have frequently issued politically motivated decisions, failed to respect fair trial guarantees, and have unjustly targeted religious and ethnic minorities.

Sergei Viktorovich Bulgakov (Bulgakov) is the purported “Deputy Prosecutor and Senior Counselor of Justice” for the so-called “Republic of Crimea.” Bulgakov became the purported “Deputy Prosecutor and Senior Counsel of Justice” for the so-called Republic of Crimea in August 2014.  Prior to Russia’s illegal invasion of Crimea, Bulgakov was an employee of Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office for Crimea and criminal proceedings were opened against Bulgakov for high treason in Ukraine after he began operating as a proxy of Russia.

Bulgakov was designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Andrey Nikolayevich Dolgopolov (Dolgopolov) is the purported Chairman of the Kyiv District Court in Simferopol in the so-called Republic of Crimea, and Mikhail Nikolayevich Belousov (Belousov) and Viktor Anatolyevich Mozhelyanskiy (Mozhelyanskiy) are judges in the same court. The three officials are considered to be the most active of the Kyiv District Court in handing out politically motivated decisions and have been called “missionaries of the Kremlin.” All three were involved in issuing the judgments against Ukrainian sailors that were captured by Russia’s designated Federal Security Service (FSB) in November 2018 during a raid on a Ukrainian naval vessel. The United Nations raised concerns that the judgments’ failed to comply with the judicial safeguards required for the prosecution of prisoners of war under international humanitarian law. These judges have also issued biased judgments against members of ethnic minority groups in the region, including Crimean Tatars.

Dolgopolov, Belousov, and Mozhelyanskiy were designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Dolgopolov, Belousov, and Mozhelyanskiy are also sanctioned by Canada, the EU, and Switzerland.

Mariya Gennadevna Ermakova (Ermakova) is installed as a “judge” in the Dzhankoi District Court of the so-called Republic of Crimea, and Pavel Valerevich Kryllo (Kryllo) is installed as a “judge” in the Gagarinskiy District Court in Sevastopol. Both installed judges doled out harsh judgments against members of religious minority groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, based on their exercise of religious freedoms, which is contrary to international human rights law.

Ermakova, and Kryllo were designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Dmitry Sergeevich Gramashov (Gramashov) is a Russian FSB officer who is wanted by Ukraine’s authorities for illegally operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine and targeting a journalist for repression. Gramashov was also involved in mass searches and arrests of ethnic Crimean Tatars and assisted Russia in its policy of targeting the pro-Ukraine population on the peninsula.

Gramashov was designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine and pursuant to E.O. 13660 for asserting governmental authority over any part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine.

PROHIBITION ON QUANTUM COMPUTING SERVICES AND EXPANSION OF SANCTIONS AUTHORITIES

Treasury is also taking additional action to cut off Russia’s access to a key service from U.S. companies. Today, OFAC issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14071 prohibiting the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of quantum computing services to any person located in the Russian Federation. This prohibition will take effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on October 15, 2022.  In conjunction with this determination, OFAC is issuing new guidance. This action complements additional actions taken today by the Department of Commerce, which imposed additional export controls to Russia and Belarus on quantum computing hardware, software, and technology, among other things. In addition, the Department of State imposed further sanctions on Russian companies supporting its quantum computing capabilities, which help support Russia’s war machine. Together these actions by the U.S. government will further degrade Russia’s ability to reconstitute its military with the advanced technology support it has previously relied on from the United States.

In parallel with this action, OFAC has identified the quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy pursuant to E.O. 14024. This determination allows for sanctions to be imposed on any individual or entity determined to operate or have operated in this sector of the Russian Federation economy and, thereby, expands the United States’ ability to swiftly impose additional economic costs on Russia for its war of choice in Ukraine. This action builds on previous determinations providing for sanctions against those that operate or have operated in the accounting, trust and corporate formation, management consulting, aerospace, marine, electronics, financial services, technology, and defense and related materiel sectors of the Russian Federation economy.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

For information concerning the process for seeking removal from any OFAC list, including OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, please refer to OFAC’s FAQ 897Additional information regarding sanctions programs administered by OFAC.

For identifying information on the individuals and entities sanctioned or property identified today. 

Read more at the Treasury Department

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