PIXABAY

Sep 15, 2022

Grain Theft Brings U.S. Sanctions on 5 Russian-Backed Officials

These individuals will be sanctioned for "supporting or enabling the theft of Ukraine's grain" on behalf of Russia

The U.S. announced new sanctions on September 15, including against five individuals for "supporting or enabling the theft of Ukraine's grain" on behalf of Russia.

CNN noted that in May, Russian forces had stolen farm equipment and thousands of tons of grain from areas they were occupying.

"Today's action includes the designation of 22 Russian proxy officials, including five that have overseen the seizure or theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain, exacerbating food insecurity around the globe," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Some, but not all, of those penalized were already subject to U.S. sanctions, which include asset freezes and a ban on Americans conducting business with them.

In addition to stealing Ukrainian grain, Russia also effectively blocked grain that was already ready to depart the country's ports from leaving for months when the war first began.

According to a fact sheet, sanctions targeted:

  • Oleksandr Fedorovych Saulenko who was appointed mayor of Berdyansk by Russia and oversaw the theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain through the port of Berdyansk
  • Yevhen Vitaliiovych Balytskyi who was appointed head of the Zaporizhzhia military-civilian administration by Russia and oversaw the seizure of Ukrainian grain from the Zaporizhzhia region
  • Andriy Leonidovich Siguta who was appointed head of the military-civilian administration of the Melitopol District by Russia and oversaw the seizure of Ukrainian grain from Melitopol
  • Anton Viktorovich Koltsov who was appointed head of the military-civilian government in the Zaporizhzhia region and oversaw the theft of Ukrainian grain
  • Valery Mykhailovych Pakhnyts who was appointed head of the Starobilsk District by Russia and oversaw the theft of Ukrainian grain

In August, ships loaded with grain started to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports after an export deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkiye. The Biden administration continues to watch the space closely.

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