Promoting Accountability for Human Rights Abuses in Russia and Belarus and Taking Action Against Sanctions Evaders

04/20/2022 02:57 PM EDT

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, conducted with the complicity of the Lukashenka regime, continues to cause needless suffering and thousands of civilian casualties.  The world has witnessed the horrors of this war in the images from the Ukrainian towns of Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel, and in Ukrainian towns and cities still occupied or under siege, such as Mariupol.

As a result, the United States is taking further actions to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations, to include:

  • Action to impose visa restrictions on 587 Russian individuals pursuant to a new policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which was announced March 15.  The policy applies to Russian government officials involved in suppressing dissent in Russia and abroad.  Today’s action includes Duma members who have been involved in repressing independent media.  Family members of those who fall under the policy will also be ineligible for visas.
  • Designation of three Russian officials, Khusein Merlovich Khutaev, Nurid Denilbekovich Salamov, and Dzhabrail Alkhazurovich Akhmatov, pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022.  Khutaev, Salamov, and Akhmatov were publicly designated for their involvement in a gross violation of human rights perpetrated against human rights defender Oyub Titiev.
  • Action to impose visa restrictions on 48 individuals pursuant to a policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to those who are believed to have taken, supported, or been actively complicit in actions that threaten or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of Ukraine.  Today’s action includes ten purported “authorities” of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic who are further reported to have been involved in human rights abuses at prison facilities and places of unofficial detention in Russia-controlled areas of the Donbas since 2014.
  • Action to impose visa restrictions on 17 individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 8015, including Belarusian nationals involved in the intimidation, harassment, and repression of strikers supporting the pro-democracy movement and the expulsion of students for participating in peaceful pro-democracy protests.  Specific individuals include officials from state-owned factories and universities.

The United States is committed to a world in which human rights are respected, their defenders are free from repression, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable.  We will use every tool to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine.  The actions today hold to account individuals participating in Putin and Lukashenka’s repression, and those who seek to enable it.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating entities and individuals involved in attempting to evade sanctions imposed by the United States and its international partners on Russia.  OFAC is designating Russian commercial bank Transkapitalbank and a global network of more than 40 individuals and entities led by U.S.-designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, including organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate sanctions evasion for Russian entities. OFAC also designated companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry, reportedly the third-largest in the world.  For more information on OFAC actions, see the Treasury’s press release: 

Pursuant to Executive Order 14024 section 1(a)(iii)(C), the Department of State is designating 16 Bank Otkritie Board Members:  Kseniya Valentinovna Yudayeva, Mikhail Yurevich Alekseev, Anatoly Mikhailovich Karachinskiy, Vladimir Vladimirovich Kolychev, Alexey Yurevich Simanovskiy, Andrey Fedorovich Golikov, Elena Borisovna Titova, Mikhail Mikhaylovich Zadornov, Dmitriy Olegovich Levin, Svetlana Petrovna Emelyanova, Tatyana Gennadevna Nesterenko, Irina Vladimirovna Kremleva, Viktor Andreevich Nikolaev, Sergey Georgievich Rusanov, Nadia Narimanovna Cherkasova, and Paul Andrew Goldfinch for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors, or members of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked.

We will continue to target those who take part in or facilitate sanctions evasion for sanctioned Russian entities, as they are complicit in President Putin’s brutal war.  We will ensure that the sanctions we have imposed in close coordination with our international partners degrade the Kremlin’s ability to project power and fund its war of aggression.