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Trump Admin Sanctions Russian Oil Company for Helping Venezuela Circumvent U.S. Sanctions

A specialist examines equipment during a daily control detour at the Achinsk refinery, which was acquired by Rosneft company in 2007. Krasnoyarsk Region, Russia July 23, 2018. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters)

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced it will impose sanctions on Russian oil company Rosneft for helping Venezuela circumvent U.S. sanctions on the socialist country’s oil exports.

Administration officials said that Rosneft Trading SA, a subsidiary of the Kremlin-run Russian oil giant, of playing a “critical” role in facilitating Venezuela’s export of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil last year despite U.S. sanctions against doing so.

The new sanctions, which will freeze assets of the Rosneft subsidiary in the U.S., will also apply to its vice president Didier Casimiro and any individual or entity doing business with them.

The White House said in a statement Tuesday that all property of the Rosneft subsidiary that is in the U.S. or owned by an American will now be frozen and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The sanctions allow 90 days for companies connected with Rosneft to extricate themselves and their interests.

The U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, which crack down on the Switzerland-based brokerage firm of the country’s state-owned oil and natural gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela, are intended to hobble President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime and oust him from power.

“Today we sanctioned Russian-owned oil firm Rosneft Trading S.A., cutting off Maduro’s main lifeline to evade our sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Twitter. “Those who prop up the corrupt regime and enable its repression of the Venezuelan people will be held accountable.”

Cuba, Russia, and China have afforded aid to Venezuela amid the harsh sanctions from the U.S., helping Maduro retain power in the country gripped by economic turmoil.

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