WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian arms dealer, his son, a group of front companies across Asia, Europe and the Middle East and their leadership have been targeted for U.S. sanctions in an effort to quell Russia’s access to weapons as it continues its invasion of Ukraine.
Russian arms dealer Igor Zimenkov, his son and companies connected to “the Zimenkov network” in Singapore, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Israel, among other countries, were identified by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for financial penalties.
Roughly 22 people and organizations related to a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex were named in Wednesday’s news release.
The administration uses an April 2021 executive order as its authority to impose the financial penalties, and took the actions in concert with the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task Force, a multi-agency group that works with other countries to investigate and prosecute oligarchs and others allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Russia’s desperate attempts to utilize proxies to circumvent U.S. sanctions demonstrate that sanctions have made it much harder and costlier for Russia’s military-industrial complex to resupply Putin’s war machine,” Treasury’s Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a Wednesday statement.
Treasury says over the last year, OFAC has sanctioned more than 100 people and entities engaging in activity to circumvent international sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia.
“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 supporters,” Adeyemo said.
As the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion approaches, Russia is mustering its military might in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, local officials say, in what Kyiv suspects is preparation for an offensive in coming weeks.
Ukraine is hoping to secure more Western military aid as it tries to fend off the much larger Russian forces. It already has won pledges of advanced battle tanks from the U.S., Germany, Britain and other European countries.
By FATIMA HUSSEIN Associated Press