It’s Sunday night in Kiev. Here’s what you need to know

US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 4.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., May 4. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden and G7 leaders met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday and discussed other actions the US and its allies are taking to punish Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which include sanctions against Russia’s three biggest television channels and a commitment by all G7 members to phase out imports of Russian oil, according to a senior administration official and a White House fact sheet.

“This is already a failure for Putin, and we will continue to honor the brave struggle that is taking place for the people of Ukraine and listen to President Zelensky and commit again to staying the course,” the senior official told reporters ahead of the president’s meeting. . .

This official added that while today’s leaders “take stock of where we are,” the call will also highlight how Russian President Vladimir Putin is “dishonoring” the sacrifices made by Soviet Russian citizens, millions of whom sacrificed their lives to defeat the fascism during World War II.

“Putin is dishonoring these sacrifices by spreading his lies, his disinformation about the barbarism he is committing in Ukraine… It is really a chance to speak the truth and demonstrate our continued unity,” this official said of the call.

The new sanctions unveiled by the US on Sunday will cut Kremlin-controlled media outlets from US advertisers and production technology, ban Russia from using US-provided services such as corporate management or consulting and accounting, and impose new export controls. against Russian. industrial sector. Sunday’s announcement also includes some 2,600 visa restrictions for Russian and Belarusian officials, and the first sanctions against executives at Gazprombank – the institution through which most of Europe buys Russian gas.

“Together, today’s actions are a continuation of Russia’s systematic and methodical removal from the global financial and economic system. And the message is that there will be no safe haven for the Russian economy if Putin’s invasion continues,” the senior government official told reporters.

One more context: The series of US and Western sanctions that have been imposed since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine have pushed the Russian economy into a deep recession as it makes the difficult transition to becoming a closed economy.

The three television networks being sanctioned by the US today – Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1 and NTV Broadcasting Company – received more than $300 million in ad revenue from Western countries just last year, according to the report. employee.

“We’re not going to help them spread the lies and deceptions you hear from Putin every day,” this official said.

Not included in today’s ban on services: legal services. The US, according to the senior official, has decided to continue to allow the pursuit of “due process”, but that the government will continue to re-evaluate this “every day” and that they are waiting to see what happens after this service ban. The official noted that the UK has not instituted such a ban either.

The official also made a point of noting that the sanctions against Gazprombank executives are just that, actions against leaders of the important financial institution and not a full sanction against the bank itself, with which Europeans must do business to continue buying Russian gas.

“This is not a complete block. We are not freezing Gazprombank’s assets or banning any transactions with Gazprombank. What we are signaling is that Gazprombank is not a safe haven. And so we’re sanctioning some of the top business executives, they’re the people at the top of the organization, to create a chilling effect,” this official said.

The decision to restrict exports of industrial products to Russia is aimed at undermining the Kremlin’s industrial capacity and ability to wage war, similar to how Western restrictions on microchips are limiting Russia’s ability to manufacture precision-guided missiles, the statement said. high official.

In addition to banning the export of Russian industrial services, the US has also sanctioned Promtekhnologiya LLC, which manufactures weapons such as rifles, used by Russian forces in Ukraine, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will also no longer allow the export of uranium, plutonium or other products. nuclear.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that the three television networks being sanctioned by the US today received over $300 billion in ad revenue from Western countries last year. The real value is US$ 300 million. Got corrected.

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