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US uncovers global sanction evasion network supporting Russia

WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on 22 individuals and entities in multiple countries that it accused of being tied to a global sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex.

The sanctions, which come as Washington looks to increase pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, is part of US efforts to target the evasion of its punitive measures around the world and limit Russia’s access to revenue it needs for the war, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

The action targeted a sanctions evasion network that the Treasury said is led by Russia and Cyprus-based arms dealer Igor Zimenkov, who, along with his son, Jonatan, were hit with sanctions on Wednesday.

The network has engaged in projects connected to Russian defense capabilities, including supplying high-technology devices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Treasury said. Washington also accused certain members of the network of supporting state-owned Russian defense entities under sanctions.

Mr. Zimenkov has also supported the Belarusian military-industrial complex by facilitating sales efforts in Latin America for a Belarusian defense entity under US sanctions, Treasury said.

Members of the network targeted included Singapore-based Asia Trading & Construction PTE Limited and its director, which Treasury accused of having sold helicopters on behalf of US-sanctioned Rostec to a government in Latin America.

GBD Limited, another company in the network targeted in the sanctions, has attempted to supply weapons systems to an African government, Treasury said.

Companies in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Israel, as well as several people, were also targeted for sanctions.

The Russian Embassy in the United States said such “illegal steps” taken by Washington would not achieve their goal.

“The Russian economy remains far from being ‘in tatters’, as some in the West hope,” it said.

The action, which freezes any US assets of those added to the sanctions list and generally bars Americans from dealing with them, marks the latest round of US sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, which has killed or wounded thousands and reduced cities to rubble.

“Russia’s desperate attempts to utilize proxies to circumvent US sanctions demonstrate that sanctions have made it much harder and costlier for Russia’s military-industrial complex to resupply Putin’s war machine,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in the statement. — Reuters

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