U.S. sanctions against Russian arms trafficking network
The United States has imposed sanctions on 22 individuals and organizations from several countries that the Treasury Department says are part of a global network aimed at evading preliminary sanctions on Russia’s defense industry.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Feb. 1 imposed new sanctions on individuals and organizations that the U.S. says support the Russian military industry.
The U.S. decision is part of a global sanctions evasion strategy to uncover middlemen who provide Russia with access to revenues it then uses in its war against Ukraine, the U.S. Treasury said.
“Russia’s desperate efforts to use others to circumvent U.S. sanctions are evidence that sanctions have made it more difficult for Russia’s military industry to provide supplies to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war machine,” said Wally Adeyemo, said Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
The network is headed by Russian and Cyprus-based arms dealer Igor Zimenkov. He works in the network with his son Jonatan Zimenkov to facilitate the sale of weapons to third countries, the U.S. said.
The network has been involved in projects related to Russian defense capabilities, including the supply of high-tech equipment, since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the U.S. Treasury said.
Some members of this network have also supported sanctioned Russian companies, Rosoboronexport and the state-owned Rostec, which the Finance Ministry estimates are key elements of Russia’s military industry.
Igor Zimenkov has close ties to individuals associated with Rosoboronexport and has also provided information about Rostec employees abroad. Meanwhile, Jonatan Zimenkov is the legal representative of companies in this network owned by his father, according to the U.S. Treasury.
The U.S. said it deliberately participated in several deals to sell helicopters and cybersecurity services to South American countries and also had direct contact with potential Rosoboronexport customers to facilitate the sale of Russian protective materials.
The U.S. Treasury said there were several companies in the sanctions-hit network that laundered money. These sanctioned companies are based in Singapore, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan and Israel. In addition, some individuals associated with these companies were sanctioned./REL/