US hits Russian yachts and cellist in latest sanctions

Vladimir Putin has taken numerous trips on targeted yachts, Treasury Department says

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US President Joe Biden's administration on Thursday issued a series of new sanctions aimed a punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Targets include several yachts linked to President Vladimir Putin, an oligarch who heads a major steel producer and a cellist the US says acts as a middleman for the Russian leader.

“Today the United States took further action, several of which have also been targeted by partners and allies, to crack down on evasion and tighten our sanctions to enhance enforcement and increase pressure on Putin and his enablers,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

The Treasury Department said Mr Putin has taken numerous trips on the Russian-flagged Graceful and Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia yachts. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko joined Mr Putin on one of those trips in the Black Sea last year, the department said.

The US also slapped sanctions on Imperial Yachts and its chief executive, as the company provides services to Mr Putin's inner circle, the White House said.

Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and conductor already under EU sanctions, was added to the US list of sanctioned individuals for his close ties to Mr Putin. The sanctions apply to Mr Roldugin's family members as well.

The State Department also imposed sanctions on five Russian oligarchs and members of the country's elite, including Alexey Mordashov, one of Russia’s wealthiest people.

The action blacklists Mr Mordashov, members of his family and his companies, including Severstal, a major steel producer, and gold miner Nord Gold.

The State Department also sanctioned the spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova.

“The United States will continue imposing severe costs on President Putin for his disregard for international law,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

In addition, the White House added 71 parties in Russia and Belarus to its entity list in an attempt to limit military access to technology.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: June 02, 2022, 6:12 PM