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US sanctions Russia's naval, marine sector entities

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

The United States has decided to inflict sanctions on 10 entities operating in Russia's naval or marine sectors over, what Washington calls, Moscow's military operations against Ukraine's ports.

"In the wake of Russian naval operations against Ukrainian ports..., the United States today is imposing sanctions on Russian naval entities," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday.

The US State Department identified the designated entities as those operating or having operated in both the defense and related material sector and the marine sector of the Russian economy.

Trying to confront Russia over its ongoing military operation in neighboring Ukraine, the US has so far slapped sanctions against close to 1,100 Russian entities and more than 1,300 Russian individuals.

Russia launched the operation on February 24 with the aim of defending the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.

Back in July, Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement, mediated by the United Nations and Turkey, to resume grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

In late October, however, Russia withdrew from the deal, with the Kremlin saying that Ukraine, helped by the British navy "specialists," had launched a drone attack near the Russian Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

Also on Thursday, the US Senate lent its blessing to a legislation authorizing the administration of President Joe Biden to seize the American assets of Russian officials, businessmen, and entities and send the proceeds to Ukraine, Russia Today reported.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the move would raise "billions of dollars" for Kiev. The bill will next head to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be approved by the Democrat-held chamber.

The United States has so far sent about $50 billion in military assistance to the Kiev government.

On Wednesday, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington on his first post-war trip, the US announced another $1.85 billion from previously budgeted funds for Ukraine, including for the first time the advanced Patriot air system, which is capable of shooting down cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.

Congress also plans to vote on a spending package that includes about an additional $45 billion in so-called "emergency assistance" to Ukraine.

Moscow has warned that slapping Russia with sanctions and pumping Ukraine full of arms would only prolong the conflict in the ex-Soviet republic.

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