US allows ‘certain transactions’ in LNR & DNR
The US Treasury Department has authorized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to conduct humanitarian work, including “democracy building,” in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) – which were recognized by Moscow as independent states last month.
In a statement announcing new sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses on Friday, the Treasury Department revealed that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had issued a license “to authorize certain transactions” in the DPR and LPR.
NGOs will now be permitted to engage in “activities related to humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs, democracy building, education, non-commercial developments projects, and environmental and natural resource protection” in the two republics, which the US sees as Ukrainian territory.
The Treasury Department explained that the license is “the latest in a series of Ukraine-related general licenses that authorize US persons to support certain humanitarian efforts and other activity in the DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.”
US citizens and entities are also permitted to engage in work related to the exportation of agricultural and medicinal commodities, the Covid-19 pandemic response, and telecommunication.
In the same statement on Friday, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against billionaire Russian businessman Viktor Vekselberg, Russia’s VTB bank officials, lawmakers, and the family of already-sanctioned Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, including his wife and children.
The Treasury Department accused Peskov’s family of living “luxurious lifestyles that are incongruous with Peskov’s civil servant salary.” Peskov’s wife Tatiana Navka was a celebrity ice dancer and Olympic champion before she married Peskov in 2015 and won a gold medal representing Russia in 2006.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.