Japan and US expand sanctions against Russia
The Japanese Ministry of Finance announced on Friday it will impose sanctions on and freeze the assets of 17 more Russian individuals, including billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. This brings the total number of Russians sanctioned by the country in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine to 61.
Apart from the billionaire, Japan sanctioned 11 members of the Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, and five family members of banker Yury Kovalchuk, acting in line with other states from the Group of Seven (G7).
“As for sanctions hereafter, we’ll continue to watch conditions and, along with other G7 nations, respond appropriately,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said during a press conference.
Tokyo has also announced that it will widen its export ban list, including 31 more items such as communications equipment and semiconductors, as well as 26 technology packages.
Japan previously imposed sanctions on the Russian central bank and seven private banks, as well as an array of Belarusian organizations, banks, and individuals for the country’s support of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
Earlier on Monday, the US State Department expanded its list of sanctioned Russian individuals by including 11 senior officials linked to the military sector, including eight Ministry of Defense representatives and the head of National Guard (Rosgvardia), Viktor Zolotov.
Moscow attacked neighboring Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’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 were designed to regularize the status of the two regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
In response to the offensive, multiple Western countries have imposed unprecedented economic sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals.