At the end of last year, OFAC designated 6 Russian bankers, 1 Russian businessman, and 8 firms with significant financial, infrastructure, or construction links with Crimea. The bankers hold executive positions within Bank Rossiya or its affiliates, which were designated for providing support to a senior Russian official and being controlled by designated “inner circle” member Yuri Kovalchuk. The businessman, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, is said to have extensive dealings with the Russian Ministry of Defence and one of his companies is due to build a military base near the Russian border with Ukraine. 4 of the newly designated firms are allegedly involved in construction and infrastructure projects in Crimea, including for parts of the under-construction Kerch Bridge between Russia and Crimea, and the remaining 4 are said to support designated entity OJSC Sovfracht.
In OFAC’s press release, Acting Director of OFAC John Smith said that the new listings were intended to “maintain pressure on Russia by sustaining the costs of its occupation of Crimea and disrupting the activities of those who support the violence and instability in Ukraine”.