It’s been nearly three years since the Russian Federation occupied and sought to annex Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. In response to Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, and a number of other countries, applied targeted sanctions against Russian individuals, businesses and officials.
As a result, dozens of individuals and entities have been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, which means U.S. persons are generally prohibited from conducting business with them. Likewise, any assets these Specifically Designated Nationals, or SDN, may have under the jurisdiction of the United States, or in the control of U.S. persons, are frozen.
In mid-November, the Treasury Department added 6 new names to the SDN list--individuals who purportedly represent Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the Russian State Duma. Thus, Dmitry Belik, Andrey Kozenko, Konstantin Bakharev, Svetlana Savchenko, Ruslan Balbek, and Pavel Shperov have been designated under Executive Order 13660, for actions or policies that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine, as well as for actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Belik, Kozenko, Bakharev, and Savchenko were elected to the Russian State Duma representing one-seat constituencies in Crimea and Sevastopol.
Balbek was elected to the Russian State Duma as part of the United Russia political party ticket, along with Natalia Poklonskaya and Mikhail Sheremet, who was sanctioned two years ago.
Shperov, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, was seated on the Russian State Duma after a United Russia Party member declined the seat.
“The United States does not recognize the illegitimate elections to the Russian State Duma that took place in Crimea,” said John E. Smith, Acting Director of OFAC. The Treasury Department’s action, he said, “was closely coordinated with the European Union, underscoring the strength of the U.S.-EU partnership in maintaining pressure on Russia until it respects the security and sovereignty of Ukraine.”
The Treasury Department will continue to sanction individuals and entities involved in Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and its destabilizing activities in Ukraine until Russia ceases violating Ukrainian sovereignty and adheres to its commitments under the Minsk agreements.