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US issues more sanctions as world continues to react to Bucha atrocities

Apr 06, 2022


The worldwide backlash to the photos and videos of dead bodies coming out of Bucha, Ukraine continued with the United States issuing additional sanctions against Russia. The sanctions, announced by the White House Wednesday, target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the wife and children of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and members of Russia’s Security Council. They also block two of Russia’s largest banks.

“I made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha,” President Joe Biden said in a Wednesday tweet. The sanctions came the same day Attorney General Merrick Garland announced “several actions the Justice Department has taken to disrupt and prosecute criminal activity associated with the Russian regime.” These actions included charging Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with violating U.S. government sanctions and disrupting a cybercrime operation controlled by a Russian military intelligence agency.

“The Treasury Department previously identified Malofeyev as one of the main sources of financing for Russians, promoting separatism in Crimea and providing material support for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic,” Garland said at a Wednesday news conference. As for the cybercrime operation, “commonly known as the GRU,” Garland added “the Russian government has recently used similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets.”

The sanctions and other U.S. government action came as Kremlin-backed media have denounced the photos and videos from Bucha as an elaborate hoax. Correspondents and hosts of Russian state TV channels said Tuesday that some photo and video evidence of the killings was fake while other evidence showed that Ukrainians were responsible for the bloodshed.

“In the last days, Western and Ukrainian propaganda machines have been working exclusively to fuel hysteria around videos that have been filmed, as we understand, by Ukrainian military, Ukrainian Security Service in Bucha,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday. “We have all foundations to believe that it was done in order to distract the attention from the talks, distract the attention from the fact that the Ukrainian side has started playing back after the meeting in Istanbul, trying to make new demands.”

However, high-resolution satellite images show some of the dead bodies have been lying on the residential streets of Bucha since early March. This evidence was corroborated by German officials Wednesday.

“Targeted killings by units of the Russian military and security forces are therefore proof that the Russian President and supreme commander has at least approvingly accepted human rights abuses and war crimes to achieve his goals,” German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said. “The assertions made by the Russian side that these are staged scenes or they aren’t responsible for the murders are therefore not tenable.”

Shannon Longworth: Beyond the bloodshed on the ground, the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to play out as an info war.
At this moment, the focus is on the death and destruction in Bucha–just outside Kyiv.
Russian media’s reportedly pushing the narrative that *Ukrainian neo-nazis* placed the dead bodies in the streets *after* Russian troops retreated.
But satellite images analyzed by American media outlets *as well as* foreign governments, prove that’s not the case.
German officials say bodies were visible on the footage since March 10th.
Steffen Hebestreit | German government spokesperson: “Credible information shows that from March 7 to March 30 Russian soldiers and security forces were deployed in this area. They were also tasked with the interrogation of prisoners who were subsequently executed.”
Shannon Longworth: Here in the US, governing agencies are taking matters into their own hands…Here’s treasury secretary Janet Yellen:
Janet Yellen | Treasury Secretary: “President Biden has rallied over 30 countries, representing well over half the world’s economy to impose swift severe sanctions and export controls on Russia. Treasury is also working with our partners to block Russia from accessing benefits from the international financial institutions.”
Shannon Longworth: Attorney General Merrick Garland says the DOJ is also making moves.
Merrick Garland | Attorney General: “The first action we are announcing today is the unsealing of an indictment charging Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with sanctions violations. The second action we are announcing today is a disruption of a global botnet controlled by the Russian military intelligence agency, commonly known as the GRU. The Russian government has recently used similar infrastructure to attack Ukrainian targets.”
Shannon Longworth: But is anything these agencies do…enough to make a difference?
War crimes are litigated in *International Criminal Court*….but Putin’s rejected the ICC’s jurisdiction.