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New US Sanctions Target Banks to Prevent Aiding Russia’s Defense Industry


Ukrainian serviceman Vyacheslav greets his wife, Viktoria, who is visiting him during a short break from his frontline duty at the train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Dec. 22, 2023.
Ukrainian serviceman Vyacheslav greets his wife, Viktoria, who is visiting him during a short break from his frontline duty at the train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Dec. 22, 2023.

Most major financial institutions are adhering to U.S. sanctions aimed at preventing Russia from acquiring materials needed for its war effort, according to U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo in a TV interview Friday on CNBC.

In addition, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. expects financial institutions to ensure they “are not witting or unwitting facilitators” of the Russian military, in a statement Friday about a new White House executive order targeting Russia.

President Joe Biden’s order bolsters U.S. sanctions against financial institutions that aid Russia’s defense industry. The order, signed Friday, allows the U.S. Treasury to target banks in countries such as China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and others that may be willingly or unwittingly helping Russia evade sanctions, Adeyemo said.

"What this tool says is that if you're a financial institution, you need to take steps to make sure that you are not being used" by Russian front companies to evade sanctions, he told CNBC.

The order comes as the Kremlin is trying to restock the Russian military’s depleted arsenal after 22 months of fighting in Ukraine. Russia already has lost over 13,000 pieces of equipment, including tanks, drones and missile systems.

Fighter jets from Netherlands

The Netherlands will deliver 18 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as it fights against Russia’s invasion, the Dutch government said Friday.

The delivery of the fighter jets will take place after an export permit is issued by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, and after Ukraine has met criteria for its staff and infrastructure, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, without offering a timeline for these decisions.

The announcement made it possible to reserve funds and to prepare planes for delivery, the government said.

"I spoke with Mark Rutte to thank the Dutch government for its decision to start preparing the initial 18 F-16 jets for their delivery to Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media platform X on Friday.

The Netherlands sent its first U.S.-made F-16s to a new training facility in Romania last month for Ukrainian pilots and staff.

Denmark, Norway and Belgium also have announced they will give F-16 jets to Ukraine after the U.S. government approved sending them to defend against Russia as soon as pilot training is completed.

Relations between Ukraine and Poland

Ukraine and Poland said Friday they were ready to try to resolve "problematic" issues in their relations, especially after a Polish truckers' blockade at border crossings between the two countries.

During a meeting in Kyiv between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski, the two officials pledged to resolve the differences between their countries.

Ukraine considers Poland one of its closest European Union allies during its almost two-year-old fight against Russian invasion. Poland has offered humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine and has accepted millions of Ukrainian refugees within its borders.

But relations between the two have been soured by a border protest blockade by Polish truck drivers, targeting what they say are unfair competition practices by Ukrainian truckers, who have benefited from permit-free access to EU territory since the war began.

Polish protesters want permits for Ukrainian truckers reinstated, something Kyiv and the European Commission say is not negotiable.

The protests have caused economic losses for Ukraine and have affected the flow of vital volunteer military aid supplies.

The Polish foreign ministry spokesperson said earlier that Sikorski would present another aid package during his visit in Kyiv.

An air raid siren sounded during the news conference in Ukraine’s capital, which was targeted by another large-scale Russian drone attack overnight.

"This alarm you hear is the reason why I am here. It is unacceptable. ... In this titanic fight, Poland is on your side," Sikorski said.

Russian drone attack

Kyiv was attacked by a barrage of Russian drones early Friday, officials said, injuring at least two people in what marked the sixth drone attack on the city this month.

Ukraine said it shot down 24 of the 28 Iranian-made drones Russia launched toward Kyiv.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko and other officials reported strikes on separate residential districts. The mayor noted that a drone hit a block of apartments in the Solomyanskyi district, causing a fire.

The apartments are just a few hundred meters from a maternity hospital, Reuters reported.

Apartment buildings were damaged in other parts of the city.

Russia said its air defenses intercepted five Ukrainian drones south of Moscow in the space of less than an hour on Friday.

The defense ministry said four were intercepted over Kaluga region and a fifth was destroyed inside the Moscow region. According to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, fragments of the drone had fallen in the city of Podolsk, but no casualties or damage had been reported.

Ukraine said Thursday that Russia had launched about 7,400 missiles and 3,700 Iranian-made Shahed drones at targets across Ukraine during the course of the 22-month war.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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