| 27 May 2024, Monday |

U.S. targets Russians over Ukraine invasion, human rights violations

The United States sanctioned Russian military leaders and individuals suspected of human rights violations on Tuesday, while also imposing new sanctions on Moscow’s close ally Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

They were the most recent sanctions levied against Moscow since Russian forces invaded Ukraine nearly three weeks ago, in the largest attack on a European state since World War Two. Moscow refers to the assault as a “special operation.”

The sanctions were announced by the US State Department against 11 Russian military leaders, including several deputy defense ministers and Viktor Zolotov, chief of Russia’s national guard and a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s security council.

The sanctions freeze any assets those targeted may have in the United States and generally prohibit Americans from dealing with them.

The United States Treasury Department sanctioned four Russians and one entity for their roles in concealing events surrounding the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky or for being linked to human rights violations against human rights advocate Oyub Titiev.

A Treasury statement said it was adding to its sanctions against Lukashenko and also targeting his wife.

Andrea Gacki, the head of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement its sanctions were the consequences for people engaged in corruption or connected to gross violations of human rights.

“We condemn Russia’s attacks on humanitarian corridors in Ukraine and call on Russia to cease its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine,” she said.

Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer arrested in 2008 after alleging that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of mistreatment.

Tuesday’s measures targeted Judge Natalia Mushnikova, accused by Treasury of “participating in efforts to conceal the legal liability for the detention, abuse, or death” of Magnitsky.

Sanctions were also imposed on the Kurchaloi District of the Chechen Republic Branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, whose officers arrested Titiev in 2018 and charged him with possession of drugs.

Those sanctioned include Nurid Salamov, the investigator who opened the case against Titiev; Khusein Khutaev, the officer who allegedly spotted drugs in Titiev’s car; and Dzhabrail Akhmatov, who the Treasury said decided to bring charges against Titiev.

Titiev, head of the Memorial human rights centre in Chechnya, was detained and accused of possessing illegal drugs in 2018. Titiev said the police had planted the drugs on him during a shake-down. He was sentenced to 4 years in a penal colony.

  • Reuters