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U.S. Presses Turkey and U.A.E. to Weed Out Illicit Trade With Russia


The United States is ramping up efforts to persuade partner countries not to join Western sanctions on Russia to crack down on commercial activities in their countries that could help. Moscow’s War Effort in UkraineUS officials said.

Those efforts include pointing out foreign government transactions that the United States suspects are helping Russia evade sanctions and threatening new U.S. sanctions against people and companies the U.S. believed to be fueling the Russian war machine, officials said Friday.

The new impetus comes as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches and as US officials recognize limited impact of Western sanctions classes on Russialooking for new ways to increasingly damage the Russian economy and undermine President Vladimir V. Putin’s ability to support forces.

A senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the impact of the sanctions was prompting Russia to seek new economic avenues.

Despite broad consensus in the United States and Europe about the need to economically sanction Russia for its aggression, other major nations — including China, India, and Saudi Arabia — have refuse to impose sanctions, which in many cases greatly benefit their economies.

New US efforts have focused on Turkey, NATO ally, and the United Arab Emirates, a close political and security partner of the United States. Both countries have resisted Western pressure to impose sanctions on Russia, instead continuing to trade with the country and provide paradise for rich Russians and their capital.

Last week, Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s top sanctions official, highlighted the US case with officials in both countries, pointing to transactions the US suspects could help Russia evade. avoid sanctions and increase the likelihood of new measures being imposed on people and other countries. participating companies.

The senior US official said the US had indicated specific ways it had seen some companies interact with sanctioned ones.

These activities include agreements with sanctioned Russian companies, trade with Russia in US-made products, and exports to Russia of dual-use goods, such as plastics, rubber and equipment. Electronics can be used for both civilian and military purposes. senior official said.

The financial said last week that sanctions on companies that engage in such activities could prevent them from doing business in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, possibly reducing their profits.

In Turkey, Mr. Nelson, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Counter-Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, met with officials from the central bank and the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs, as well as with representatives of foreign countries. bank of Turkey, said Morgan Finkelstein, an official with the Ministry of Finance. spokesman.

Since the Ukraine war began last February, Turkey has let other NATO members down by not only refusing to impose sanctions on Russia but also by strengthening ties. trade with Moscow. The Turkish government has increased imports of Russian oil and gas at a discount, and Turkish companies have increased exports to Russia, in many cases filling the gap left by European companies. withdraw from the market.

Tens of thousands of Russians settled in Turkey, bringing in foreign currency to help stabilize the country’s sagging economy. Some have set up businesses, which US and other Western officials suspect could help Russia import products it has struggled to access elsewhere.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but he maintain relations with Mr. Putinconsider yourself a necessary middle man.

Turkish officials have questioned the effectiveness of the sanctions and said that imposing them would damage the Turkish economy. But they have reassured their American counterparts that they do not want Turkey-based companies to help the Russian war effort.

Mr. Nelson has pushed for the same at the Emirates, noting that the US stands ready to “take additional action against those who evade or facilitate the evasion of sanctions,” the Treasury Department said. know in statement on Thursday.

In the past, Emirates has come under pressure from US officials for its role as a hub for evading sanctions against Iran, its Persian Gulf neighbor and historic trading partner.

Since the war in Ukraine began, Emirates has also become a major destination for Russians, including middle-class tourists as well as wealthy oligarchs. park their yacht marinas and moved into high-rises, fueling a boom in luxury real estate.

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on Emirates-based aviation company Kratol, accusing it of supplying planes to Putin’s private Wagner military company that the company claims The company is said to be used to transport “staff and equipment” between Central Africa. Republic, Libya and Mali, Ministry of Finance said.

Emirati officials have described their country as a neutral mediator in the conflict, organizing a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia while continuing to communicate with Russian officials.

“There are many Russians who are not sanctioned and are interested in safer havens,” said Anwar Gargash, the Emirates president’s diplomatic adviser. told reporters last year. “These unpunished individuals have nothing to do with war and trying to lump them together with larger problems is a problem.”

Safak Timur contribution reports from Istanbul, and Vivian Nereim from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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