Russian central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina hit with US sanctions

The US has slapped sanctions on Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of Russia’s central bank, as part of a new package of measures intended to stiffen its financial punishment of Moscow in the wake of its move to annex vast chunks of territory in eastern Ukraine.

The move against Nabiullina came as the Treasury department widened its sanctions against Russia to include several of the country’s top economic officials, in addition to individuals and lawmakers associated with the military invasion of Ukraine.

Western officials condemned Putin’s actions and insisted they would continue to support Ukraine. US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said Washington would not “stand by as [Vladimir] Putin fraudulently attempts to annex parts of Ukraine”.

She added that the US was “targeting key leaders in Russia’s financial architecture as part of our aggressive and co-ordinated effort to hold Putin and his enablers accountable for his unprovoked invasion, and limit their ability to prop up their economy”.

Separately Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, issued a warning he said was supported by other G7 leaders that the US would “hold to account any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory”.

He noted that there would be “heightened sanctions and export control risks for entities and individuals inside or outside Russia” that were supporting Russia’s annexation.

US president Joe Biden said Putin’s actions “have no legitimacy”, adding that America would continue to rally the world against Russia’s moves, including by imposing sanctions.

“I urge all members of the international community to reject Russia’s illegal attempts at annexation and to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.

The US Treasury department explained its decision to impose sanctions on Nabiullina, saying she had been instrumental in Russia’s efforts to protect its economy in recent years from western sanctions dating back to the 2014 invasion of Crimea.

“Directly and indirectly, Russia’s financial technocrats have supported the Kremlin’s unprovoked war,” it said. “Today’s actions target key figures who, through their top leadership positions, have personally enriched themselves while facilitating Putin’s war in Ukraine, actively undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Ukraine.”

Separately, the Treasury also imposed sanctions on Olga Skorobogatova, first deputy governor of the Russian central bank, and Aleksandr Novak, Russian deputy prime minister.

America’s targeting of Nabiullina comes seven months after the US and its allies imposed sanctions on transactions with the Russian central bank immediately after Moscow launched its attack on Ukraine, in a surprise move to curb Russia’s ability to operate in the international financial system.

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