The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, targeting its future energy capabilities, sanctions evasion and a suicide drone that has been a menace to Ukrainian troops and equipment. The sanctions are the latest in a series of measures taken by the U.S. and its allies to pressure Russia to end its aggression and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The new sanctions, announced on Friday, affect 37 individuals and entities, including Russian government officials, companies, banks and individuals involved in the development and deployment of the Kargu-2 drone, a loitering munition that can autonomously track and attack targets. The U.S. said the drone has been used by Russia and its proxies to strike civilian and military targets in Ukraine, causing significant casualties and damage.
The sanctions also target Russia’s future energy capabilities, such as its Arctic liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, which are seen as a key source of revenue and geopolitical influence for Moscow. The U.S. said it aims to prevent Russia from using its energy resources to coerce and intimidate its neighbors and partners.
The U.S. also sanctioned individuals and entities involved in sanctions evasion, such as those who provide financial or material support to the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. said it will continue to hold accountable those who undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russia dismissed the new sanctions as ineffective and said that the U.S. would never be able to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the U.S. was acting out of frustration and desperation, and that its policy of pressure and coercion was doomed to fail.
“You will never defeat Moscow. You will never be able to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. You will never be able to make us change our course or our position on key issues,” Zakharova said in a statement.
The head of Russian natural gas producer Novatek Leonid Mikhelson said that the sanctions were a badge of success and that his company would continue to develop its Arctic LNG projects. He said that Novatek was not dependent on U.S. technology or financing, and that it had enough partners and customers to ensure its growth and profitability.
“We are not afraid of sanctions. We consider them as a badge of success. We will continue to develop our Arctic LNG projects,” Mikhelson said in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS.
The U.S. said that the new sanctions were not intended to escalate tensions with Russia, but to deter further aggression and encourage dialogue and diplomacy. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. was ready to work with Russia on areas of mutual interest, such as arms control, non-proliferation and regional stability, but that it would not tolerate Russia’s violation of international law and norms.
“The United States will continue to stand with Ukraine and our allies and partners in Europe and around the world in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” Blinken said in a statement.
The U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the U.S. was not going to wait for the next attack from Russia, but was going to act now to prevent it. He said that the U.S. was prepared to impose further costs on Russia if it continued its aggression and destabilization in Ukraine and the region.
“We are not going to wait for the next attack. We are going to act now to prevent the next attack,” Sullivan said in a briefing.
The war in Ukraine has killed more than 14,000 people since 2014 and remains unresolved despite several cease-fire agreements. The conflict has strained the relations between Russia and the West, and has raised fears of a wider war in Europe.
The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is reportedly weighing up the possibility of holding presidential elections in spring 2024, amid growing public discontent and criticism from his former allies. A source close to Zelenskiy’s office said that the president was considering the option of calling early elections to renew his mandate and strengthen his position in the negotiations with Russia.
“The president is considering the possibility of holding early presidential elections in the spring of 2024,” the source said, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.
– Russia Dismisses New U.S. Sanctions: ‘You Will Never Defeat Moscow’, U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 3, 2023
– US imposes sweeping new sanctions targeting Russia over war in Ukraine, Reuters, Nov. 3, 2023
– Russia-Ukraine war: Zelenskiy ‘weighing up presidential elections in spring’ – as it happened, The Guardian, Nov. 3, 2023
– Russian drones strike civilian targets in Kharkiv; U.S. imposes new sanctions on Moscow, CNBC, Nov. 3, 2023