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U.S. sanctions Russian and Chinese companies

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed sanctions on 13 more Russian businesses in response to what it claims are Russia's military actions in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Any company on the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) 'Entity List' will be denied a license to export, re-export or foreign transfer items covered by the EAR.

The following companies have now been added: Stroytransgaz Holding, based in Cyprus; Volga Group, located in Luxembourg and Russia; and Aquanika, Avia Group LLC, Avia Group Nord LLC, CJSC Zest, Sakhatrans LLC, Stroygazmontazh, Stroytransgaz Group, Stroytransgaz LLC, Stroytransgaz-M LLC, Stroytransgaz OJSC, and Transoil - all in Russia.

Volga Group aviation terminalA statement on the Volga Group website (the picture is its aviation terminal) in response to earlier sanctions said: "The justification which the U.S. Treasury has used for including Gennady Timchenko on the list of people on whom economic sanctions are being imposed, looks to put it mildly, far-fetched and deeply flawed. It simply does not correspond to the facts, which have been repeatedly voiced over the years by both Gunvor, and Mr Timchenko. Vladimir Putin does not have and never has had any relationship to or with Gunvor. We are analysing the potential ramifications of Gennady Timchenko's inclusion on this list but for the moment have no further comment to add."

According to the BIS statement: "The companies have been added to the list because they are involved, or pose a significant risk of becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. We urge Russia to honour the commitments it made in Geneva on April 17 to deescalate the situation in Ukraine."

In a related move, the BIS has also sanctioned eight Chinese companies and one Chinese individual for supporting Iran's ballistic missile programme via the Chinese proliferator Li Fangwei (a.k.a. Karl Lee).

"These additions to the entity list send a message that we will not tolerate proliferation networks and will use every means available to shut them down," said U.S. under secretary of Commerce Eric Hirschhorn.

The U.S. Department of Justice has now charged Li Fangwei with money laundering, bank and wire fraud and the government has offered a reward that leads to his arrest or conviction.

In addition to Li Fangwei, the BIS has added the Beijing Aeronautical Manufacturing Technology Research Institute, Chengdu Latest Electronics Technology, Dalian Ligong Safety Equipment, Fushun Jinly Petrochemical Carbon, Liaoyang Carbon, Shanghai Hentong Optics Technology, Weihai New Era Chemical Industrial, Xinghe Xingyong Carbon and Zhu Kuibao to the sanction list.

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