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United States widen sanctions against Russia

Nine regional units of Russian gas producer Novatek are now in the sanction list

WASHINGTON, December 20. /TASS/. The United States broadened the sanction list against Russia related to developments in Ukraine, the US Treasury Department said in its statement on Tuesday.

Seven individuals, several dozens of organizations and two vessels under the Russian flag were included into the list.

Nine regional units of Russian gas producer Novatek are now in the sanction list. Furthermore, Crimean Ports, Crimean Railways, Stroiproekt Institute, Transflot, and others are in the hit list as well.

Marshal Zhukov and Stalingrad, two vessels bearing the Russian flag and subjected to sanctions, belong to Transflot company.

The US Treasury Department made an update for Russia’s Glavgosexpertiza in its sanction list of legal entities and individuals.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department published General License 11 "Authorizing Certain Transactions With FAU Glavgosekspertiza Rossii."

"This general license authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to requesting, contracting for, paying for, receiving, or utilizing a project design review or permit from FAU Glavgosekspertiza Rossii’s office(s) in the Russian Federation," the document said.

Glavgosexpertiza Rossii hit by sanctions on September 1, 2016 is the leading Russian institution dealing with expert reviews of design documents and findings of engineering surveys.

Sanctions against four construction and transport companies are introduced "because they operate in the Crimea region," the document says.

Institut Stroiproekt is working on the construction of highway segments for the Kerch Bridge project, the Treasury Department said. "The main purpose of the planned highway is to provide transport links between the Crimean peninsula and mainland Russian Federation," the document reports. Karst LLC "was subcontracted to make foundational piling and supports for the Kerch Bridge", the authority said. Crimean Railway and Crimean Ports are also in the sanction list.

Restrictive measures against four other companies [Transpetrochart, Trans-Flot, Solid and RusChemTrade - TASS] were introduced "because they materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, OJSC Sovfracht" earlier hit by sanctions, the US Treasury Department said.

Under the document, seven Russians were added to the list of sanctions, imposed on Russia over its stance regarding the conflict in Ukraine and reunification with Crimea.

Six of those individuals - Kirill Kovalchuk, Dmitri Lebedev, Dmitri Mansurov, Mikhail Klishin, Oleg Minaev, and Mikhail Dedov - were put on the list of sanctions for "acting for or on behalf of and providing financial, material, or technological support to Bank Rossiya, ABR Management, or Sobinbank," the US Treasury said in a statement. These companies were added to the list of sanctions between 2014 and 2016.

The seventh individual, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, was designated for "having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, senior officials of the Russian Federation," the US Treasury said.

"Prigozhin has extensive business dealings with the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, and a company with significant ties to him holds a contract to build a military base near the Russian Federation border with Ukraine," the statement reads.

The blacklist of sectoral sanctions was expanded to include "a number of subsidiaries of the Russian Agricultural Bank and Novatek as being 50% or more owned by their respective parent entities." The two companies fell under the US sanctions in 2014.

Moscow reserves the right to choose the time, venue and form of counter-moves to US sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Tass Tuesday, commenting on the move.

"We will be expanding our lists, we will see how we can respond asymmetrically. We reserve the right to choose the timing, the venue and form of counter-moves the way that will suit us, and the way it will be relevant to our own priorities in the American direction," he said.

The United States and the European Union introduced sanctions against Russia in view of developments in Ukraine and reunification of Crimea with Russia. Sanctions were repeatedly extended and renewed.