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The United States has for the first time imposed sanctions on Gazprombank executives

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The United States on Sunday for the first time attacked Gazprombank executives as part of a new set of sanctions that also prohibits companies from providing Russia with corporate services such as accounting and consulting services.

“We are sanctioning some of their top managers, these are the people sitting at the top of the organization to create a cooling effect. . . we do not want Gazprombank to be seen as a safe haven, ”said a senior Biden administration official.

The US official said sanctions against 27 executives of Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest creditor and a subsidiary of state-owned energy company Gazprom, did not freeze the company’s assets or ban deals with it because it is Russia’s main way of selling gas to Europe. . Sberbank officials have also been targeted, and Russian officials accused of human rights abuses face visa restrictions.

The new package prohibits companies from providing Russia with accounting, consulting and other services to try to prevent Moscow from reformulating business strategies to circumvent the Western sanctions regime.

“We prohibit the provision of accounting, management, consulting and marketing services – all services used to run multinational companies, but also to potentially circumvent sanctions or to conceal illicit wealth,” the official said.

The United States has not frozen Gazprombank’s assets or banned transactions with it, as this is the main way to sell Russian gas to Europe. © REUTERS

The package also includes new export controls and sanctions against Russia’s three most popular state TV channels.

The statement came after US President Joe Biden met with G7 counterparts and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and is part of a coordinated demonstration of support for Ukraine on the eve of Russia’s Victory Day. celebrations on Monday.

US First Lady Jill Biden also made an unexpected trip to Ukraine on Sunday, which was another signal of support for Washington as the US stepped up deadly aid in Kyiv in recent weeks. She met with the First Lady of Ukraine Elena Zelenskaya in a town near the border with Slovakia.

The ban on services affects the top four accounting firms and consulting firms that have began to pull out Russia. Representatives of the companies said that the exit could take several months.

Legal services will be excluded from the ban, a senior official said, so that companies seeking due process through U.S. lawyers can continue to do so. The official added that this may change in the future.

In addition, the United States bans the export of industrial engines, bulldozers and other industrial goods, the official said. The EU will impose restrictions on the export of chemicals.

“These new means of control will further limit Russia’s access to the components it needs to replenish and replenish its military capabilities,” a senior official said.

The EU is discussing a ban on the provision of corporate services, including accounting, as part of its sixth package of sanctions against Russia. EU ambassadors resumed talks on the package on Sunday, but were unable to conclude the deal due to difficulties with victory over member states most exposed to a ban on oil imports from Russia, such as Hungary.

The U.S. package also bans firms from advertising on Russia’s three largest state-owned television companies and prevents the sale of technologies such as camcorders, microphones and lighting equipment through these channels.

The Big Seven said Sunday that it seeks to phase out or ban Russian oil imports, building on steps the United States has already taken to stop Russian energy imports.

Additional report by Sam Fleming in Brussels

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