By Andrea Shalal
(MAINNEWS) – WASHINGTON, The U.S. Treasury Department will focus in coming months on cracking down on facilitators and third-country providers helping Russia evade Western sanctions, Treasury said on Friday.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told a meeting of academics and other experts on sanctions and U.S. foreign policy that Treasury will increase its focus on countering sanctions evasion, including by those who may “wittingly or unwittingly” help Russia replenish supplies needed for its military fighting in Ukraine.
Treasury said the meeting, ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, was aimed at taking stock of progress in disrupting Russia’s military supply chains and denying Moscow revenues it needs to fund the war.
“Deputy Secretary Adeyemo shared the progress seen on these fronts, including ballooning deficits and long-term economic damage, as well as the difficulty the Kremlin faces in replacing its major losses of military equipment and supplies,” Treasury said in a statement.
It said the strain on Russia’s military was evident in what it called “the Kremlin’s increasingly desperate attempts to backfill through third parties in permissive jurisdictions, or even turning to international pariahs like Iran and North Korea for (unmanned aerial vehicles) and other weapons.”
Treasury provided no immediate details on which “facilitators and third-party providers” would be targeted.
Adeyemo’s pledge comes amid growing international concern that Russia could mount a fresh offensive against Ukraine in coming weeks and months, and signs that Russia’s economy was not hit as heavily as initially expected by a raft of sanctions.
The International Monetary Fund last month forecast that Russia’s eocnomy would expand by 0.3% in 2023 after shrinking by 2.2% in 2022. In April it had initially forecast a decline of 8.5% in 2022 and a further contraction of 2.3% this year.
The Treasury earlier this month 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 U.S. Treasury Department’s top sanctions official, Brian Nelson, traveled to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates the week of Jan. 30 to warn countries and businesses that they could lose access to G7 markets if they do business with entities subject to U.S. curbs.