Politics

U.S. imposes new sanctions on pro-Putin Russian oligarchs and their families over Ukraine invasion

Key Points
  • The Biden administration announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and their family members who are supporting President Vladimir Putin as he wages war in Ukraine.
  • Asked at the White House about the expanded sanctions, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. was confident that these measures were an effective approach.
  • President Joe Biden said later Thursday afternoon that the sanctions already imposed on Putin and those around him have "had a profound impact."
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The United States on Thursday announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and their family members who are supporting President Vladimir Putin as he wages war in Ukraine.

The new penalties include "full blocking sanctions" on at least eight so-called elites in the country and visa restrictions on 19 Russian oligarchs, their 47 family members and close associates, according to the Biden administration.

One of the elites targeted by the U.S. is Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, who was sanctioned earlier this week by the European Union.

Less than an hour later, the United Kingdom unveiled its own set of sanctions on Alisher Usmanov and Igor Shuvalov, two of the oligarchs targeted by the U.S. Usmanov and Shuvalov are said to hold a combined wealth of $19 billion.

"In coordination with the U.S. and other allies, these measures amount to the largest set of financial sanctions in history," U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a press release.

The Biden administration said it is targeting visa access in an effort to respond to actions that are seen to "direct, authorize, fund, significantly support, or carry out malign activities in support of Russia's destabilizing foreign policy."

The Treasury Department will also designate "disinformation targets," including seven Russian entities and 26 Russia- and Ukraine-based individuals, according to the White House.

"These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the U.S. financial system, their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use," the White House said in a fact sheet detailing the sanctions.

President Joe Biden said later Thursday afternoon that the sanctions already imposed on Putin and those around him have "had a profound impact."

Asked at the White House about the expanded sanctions, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. was confident that these measures were an effective approach.

The goal of "choking off access to technology as well as cutting off access to the global financial system" is to "maximize the impact on Putin and Russia and minimize the harm on us and our allies and friends around the world," Biden said.

The Russian elites named in the White House release are:

  • Nikolai Tokarev (his wife Galina, daughter Mayya, and his two luxury real estate companies)
  • Boris Rotenberg (his wife Karina, and his sons Roman and Boris)
  • Arkady Rotenberg (his sons Pavel and Igor and daughter Liliya)
  • Sergei Chemezov (his wife Yekaterina, his son Stanislav, and stepdaughter Anastasiya)
  • Shuvalov (his five companies, his wife Olga, his son Evgeny and his company and jet, and his daughter Maria and her company)
  • Yevgeniy Prigozhin (his three companies, his wife, Polina, his daughter Lyubov, and his son Pavel)
  • Peskov, President Putin's press secretary
  • Usmanov (his superyacht and his private jet, one of Russia's largest privately-owned aircraft)

The Russian entities being sanctioned are: SDN Strategic Culture Foundation and associated outlets; Odna Rodyna, Rhythm of Eurasia, and Journal Kamerton; SouthFront; SDN InfoRos; New Eastern Outlook; Oriental Review; United World International; and Geopolitical.

In a separate release, the Treasury Department detailed the extravagant wealth of some of the individuals now being targeted with penalties.

Usmanov's superyacht, for example, is estimated to be worth between $600 and $735 million, according to Treasury officials. The boat, named Dilbar, "has two helipads and one of the world's largest indoor pools ever installed on a yacht," and costs about $60 million per year to operate, the Treasury said.

The agency also said Usmanov's private business jet, named "Bourkhan" after his father, "is registered in the Isle of Man and is believed to have cost between $350 million and $500 million."

Tokarev, another longtime Putin associate, amassed his fortune as the chief executive of Transneft, a state-owned pipeline company responsible for carrying 90% of the oil extracted from Russia. His daughter Mayya leads a real estate business has been valued at more than $50 million in Moscow alone, Treasury said.

Part of her business, officials added, includes "prime oceanfront real estate on a Croatian island that includes a villa built by the 19th-century Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I."

US President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union Address before lawmakers in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S., March 1, 2022.
Jim Lo Scalzo | Reuters

The sanctions are the latest wave of penalties imposed by the U.S., the EU and the U.K. and other allies as they work to pressure Putin into ending the war on Ukraine.

The EU said Monday evening that it added 26 prominent Russians and businessmen to its own sanctions list, freezing their financial assets and instituting travel restrictions. Meanwhile, the U.K. is expected to soon vote to force anonymous foreign owners of British properties to reveal their identities and broaden regulations to halt the movement of assets held by Russian elite.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

CNBC's Amanda Macias contributed to this report.