Japan sanctions Putin
Japan has slapped Russia with additional sanctions for its offensive in Ukraine, targeting three state banks and six top state officials, including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
“We've agreed on the need to take powerful sanctions against Russia,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared on Tuesday.
Japan’s asset freeze will also target Russia’s central bank, as well as the state-owned Vnesheconombank and Promsvyazbank. In addition, Tokyo will ban exports to 49 Russian companies and entities.
Japan joins the US, EU and other Western allies in introducing embargoes against Moscow for “an invasion of Ukraine.” The measures mostly focus on cutting off certain Russian banks from global financial transactions and freezing assets abroad.
Russia attacked Ukraine last Thursday, justifying it with a call for the complete “demilitarization” and “denazification” of the country, and made a pledge to prosecute those who were involved in “numerous bloody crimes against civilians.” The move came just days after Moscow recognised the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Kiev, however, claims the attack was “unprovoked,” insisting it has had no plans to retake the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk by force. They split from Ukraine back in 2014 following the Maidan, which ousted a democratically-elected government in Kiev. Years of low-intensity warfare has left thousands of people dead.