On the anniversary of Russia’s war against Ukraine, US Treasury takes one of its most significant sanctions actions to date

International Arms Sales to Ukraine: An Indictment against a Russian Federal Security Sergeant and a New FSB Officer in Estonia

Mr. Zlatev and his business partner took their first crack at international arms dealing. Records obtained by The New York Times show that there were layers of middleman and transit in the deal. And it exists in a legal gray area, designed to skirt the arms-export rules of other countries.

“Time is of the essence,” the pair recently wrote to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. They said they planned to sell arms to Ukraine.

“As the Ukrainian people continue to valiantly defend their homeland and their freedom, the United States is proud to support Ukraine through economic, security, and humanitarian assistance,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. Over the last year we have taken actions with a historic coalition of international partners to degrade Russia’s military-industrial complex and reduce revenues used to fund its war.

According to the 16-count indictment, the defendants were associated with two Moscow companies that worked with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to purchase and smuggle sanctioned items – including semiconductors and other electronic equipment – from the US to the Russian military.

Livshits was accused of using shell companies to purchase items from US companies and of buying the items through US bank accounts.

The Justice Department says that both Brayman, a US citizen and Konoshchenok, a Russian national, are currently in the US.

Based in the US, Brayman and Yermolenko would allegedly “fabricate shipping documents and invoices” to ship items around the world before they would eventually be sent to Russia, according to the DOJ.

The alleged FSB officer was arrested in Estonia last week after allegedly attempting to smuggle twenty cases of US-made sniper rifle ammunition into Russia in late November.

Konoshchenok was stopped at the border with thousands of more US-made bullets as well assemiconductors and other electronic components because of anti-terrorism, according to the indictment.

The First Year of Russian Invasion of Ukraine: The State of the Union and the U.S. Against Its Own Explosions

“At this stage Mr. Brayman has only been charged, he has not been convicted of anything,” Brayman’s attorney, David Lazarus, told CNN. The presumption of innocence is the same for all defendants.

In a surprise visit to Europe, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met leaders in London, Paris, and Brussels and called for the sending of fighter jets to his country.

The Institute for the Study of War says Russian forces attacked the Ukrainian side of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. The analysts at the Atlantic Council said Russian forces were pushing to encircle Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova attended President Biden’s State of the Union speech, for the second year in a row, but the war in Ukraine received far less attention in the address this time.

The international team that investigated the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 said they think Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels.

Past recaps can be read here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Listen to the NPR State of Ukraine podcast for daily updates during the day.

Adeyemo, the department’s No. 2, will deliver the remarks ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reflecting on the US-led efforts to destabilize the Russian economy and push crushing sanctions to undermine President Vladimir Putin’s ability to wage war.

Adeyemo said in an interview that intelligence sharing is a big piece of the puzzle. It’s a big piece of what we’re trying to do, being able to map an evasion network that allows us to look across jurisdictions and then take action.

The forthcoming sanctions will also “clamp down on more Russian banks that have been evading sanctions” as well as “the middlemen who are flipping back money to the Russian government” through oil trade.

“Spending the country’s savings can hide the damage for now, but our actions are forcing Russia to mortgage its economic future to save face today. Of course, we have more work to do, and we will continue to do more until Russia’s ceases its baseless and illegal invasion. Russia’s economy looks like it’s coming from Iran, according to Adeyemo.

Russia had a budget deficit last year that was $47 billion dollars. This was the second highest deficit in the post-Soviet era. The industrial base in Russia has fallen for 9 consecutive months, and Adeyemo says they are going to decimate it.

The Relations Between China and the U.S. after the Crimes of Crime against Humanity: The Violations of the Security Balloon Crisis

The U.S. demanded that the perpetrators of the Russian military’s actions in Ukraine be held accountable for their actions, according to the Vice President.

“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence. We know the legal standards and there is no doubt these are crimes against humanity,” she said at the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement Saturday saying the U.S. would work to hold those responsible to account. The meeting has Blinken in attendance.

The International Criminal Court is not a state party to a treaty. But the country has exercised its rights to accept the court’s jurisdiction over alleged war crimes occurring within its borders. The International Criminal Court prosecutor decided in February of 2022 to open an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.

As tension between the U.S. and China lingers, Blinken is set to meet with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, for talks this weekend in Munich. This will be the highest level of contact between the U.S. and China since the security balloon incident.

The relationship between China and the U.S. has been fraught since the Feb. 4 shootdown of what the Biden administration maintains was a Chinese surveillance balloon that made its way across the continental U.S.

Beijing insists that the balloon was used for scientific research and that it was an overreaction to shoot it down.

China’s Threat to the War in Ukraine: A US State Department Analysis of the Biden Administration’s Measurement of Security and Trade Relations with Russia

A top US State Department official said Thursday that the Biden administration plans to put constraints on Chinese companies that are involved in evading sanctions related to the war in Ukraine.

There are some Chinese companies that are attempting to support the war in Ukraine and that the US has made clear that it is prepared to sanction them.

“The Russians consistently have been asking the Chinese for weapons,” Nuland said, noting that the US has consistently warned Beijing against providing lethal support. This was one of the topics that Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed with Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat.

The Treasury Department has taken new actions in order to deter those who support Moscow from doing so as the war enters it’s second year.

The White House fact sheet said that Friday the administration imposed sanctions against over 200 individuals and entities that are supporting Russia’s war effort.

A total of 23 individuals and 83 entities have been targeted by the Treasury Department in the latest set of sanctions, which were taken in conjunction with the Group of 7 nations.

“These targets include government ministers, governors, and high-level officials in Russia, as well as six individuals and three entities operating in parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia, facilitating grain theft, and governing on behalf of Russia,” he said.

There are four individuals and 22 entities who have been sanctioned by the State Department for their involvement in Russia’s advanced technology sector.

Three companies involved in expanding Russia’s future energy production and export capacity were hit, including ones that were involved in the design of the Vostok oil projects.

The agency imposed sanctions on Kurbanov, a Russian-Turkmen arms dealer, and Udodov who is a Russian businessman.

The latest sanctions hit “numerous Russia-based entities involved in the production of carbon fiber and related materials” – materials that “are used in almost all defense-related platforms including aircraft, ground combat vehicles, ballistic missiles, and military personal protection gear, as well as other weapons systems.” They also imposed sanctions on companies tied to Russia’s aerospace, technology and electronics sectors.

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