US takes aim at Russian gold and weapons in latest sanctions

Treasury Department imposes sanctions on 70 entities and 29 people

Russian state defence conglomerate Rostec's stand at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia on June 15. Reuters
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The US on Tuesday imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia, hitting Moscow's defence industry and banning the import of the nation's gold.

The Treasury Department announced it was imposing sanctions on 70 entities, many of which it claimed were critical to Russia's defence industry, and 29 people to hinder Moscow's ability to develop and use weapons.

“Targeting Russia’s defence industry will degrade [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s capabilities and further impede his war against Ukraine, which has already been plagued by poor morale, broken supply chains and logistical failures,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

It is the latest in a series of sanctions Washington has imposed on Moscow since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Tuesday's move put new sanctions on Rostec, Russia's state aerospace and defence conglomerate.

The Treasury said Rostec's “management umbrella includes more than 800 entities across a wide range of sectors” and that all entities owned 50 per cent or more by Rostec, either directly or indirectly, have been blocked.

Also sanctioned was United Aircraft Corporation, the maker of Russia's MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets — planes that are also flown by US allies including some Nato members. Rostec also holds the majority share in the company.

The US Treasury said the move aimed to “weaken Russia's ability to continue its aerial assault on Ukraine”.

Tupolev, the maker of Russian strategic bombers and transport aircraft, was also designated.

The Treasury Department also banned the import of Russian gold in a move against the country's largest non-energy export. Washington was joined in its action by the UK, Canada and Japan.

Russia produces about 10 per cent of the gold mined globally each year.

The State Department also announced sanctions on 45 entities and 29 people, including Russian military units and the FSB intelligence agency, the Treasury said.

The announcement came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the UN to visit the site of a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk, which was struck by a Russian missile.

"I suggest the United Nations send either a special representative, or the secretary general of the United Nations, or a plenipotentiary commission to the site of this terrorist act … so the UN could independently find out information and see that this indeed was a Russian missile strike," Mr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council.

Mall bombing witness Polina Puchintseva told AFP: "Everything burned, really everything, like a spark to a touchpaper. I heard people screaming. It was horror."

Russia's army claimed it had struck a weapons base.

At least 18 people were killed in the attack.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: June 28, 2022, 9:04 PM