US unveils fresh sanctions on Russia targeting defense companies, hundreds of lawmakers

Sanctions come during pivotal Biden, NATO summit

The United States on Thursday announced a raft of new financial sanctions on Russian lawmakers and defense companies, further ratcheting up financial pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The latest actions from the Treasury Department target more than 400 individuals and entities, including dozens of Russian defense companies; 328 members of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of Parliament; and dozens of individuals from the Russian elite.


The penalties from the U.S. will hit Herman Gref, the head of Russia's largest financial institution and an adviser to President Vladimir Putin; Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, his companies and his family members; as well as 17 board members of the Russian financial institution Sovcombank.

vladimir putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a flag raising ceremony via a video link at a state residence outside Moscow. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The defense companies affected by the sanctions are Russian Helicopters, Tactical Missiles Corporation, High Precision Systems, NPK Tekhmash OAO and Kronshtadt, the White House said. 

The U.S. has led a global push to penalize the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine nearly one month ago, the biggest attack on a European state in decades.

The fresh measures were announced during high-stakes summit meetings between President Biden and leaders of NATO, the European Union and the Group of Seven. The U.S. and its European allies are seeking to present a united front against the Kremlin after they imposed a massive, coordinated raft of sanctions against Russia in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. 

A Belgian delegation welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden, who arrives to attend an extraordinary NATO summit to discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium, March 23, 2022.  (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters Photos)

Previous sanctions from the West include cutting off a key part of the Central Bank of Russia by preventing it from selling dollars, euros and other foreign currencies in its roughly $630 billion reserve stockpile; blocking certain financial institutions from the Swift messaging system for international payments; and sanctioning some of the Russian elites who have close ties to Putin.

The U.S. also ordered a ban on Russian oil imports – something that President Biden has warned will hurt Americans at the gas pump. 

"Defending freedom is going to cost," Biden said when announcing the penalty. 

A demonstrator holds a sign with the message "Abramovich can not be Portuguese" during a protest against the Russian invasion and in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, outside the Russian embassy in Lisbon, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Ana Brigida / AP Newsroom)

European nations have also debated curtailing their reliance on Russia for natural gas and oil; Moscow supplies about 40% of the gas that Europe uses. 


Reducing European reliance on Russian energy has been a "substantial" topic and the subject of "intense back and forth" in recent days, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on an Air Force One flight to Brussels, according to Reuters.

Sullivan said Biden would have some news to announce on the topic on Friday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday.