WASHINGTON — The U.S. expanded sanctions against Russia on Wednesday over its escalated insurgency into Ukraine, targeting two key Russian financial firms and two energy firms by limiting their access to U.S. capital markets.
Senior Obama administration officials, speaking on background, said the sanctions were unprecedented and would likely have a significant impact on the Russian economy.
While the actions did not directly impact the global fashion industry, the additional sanctions created uncertainty for U.S. brands selling into the Russian market. In recent months, however, several U.S. and European brands have cited a decline in international travel by free-spending Russian tourists as impacting business, at least in the short term.
The U.S. also imposed sanctions on eight defense technology firms, three separatists, four Russian government officials and designated Feodosiya Enterprises, a key shipping facility in the Crimean peninsula, for being “complicit in the misappropriation of Ukrainian assets.”
The most severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department were against two Russian financial firms, Gazprombank OAO and VEB, and two Russian energy firms, OAO Novatek and Rosneft.
“Given its continued provocations in the Ukraine, today I have approved a new set of sanctions on some of Russia’s largest companies and financial institutions,” President Obama said. “We are freezing the assets of several Russian defense companies and we are blocking new financing of some of Russia’s most important banks and energy companies. These sanctions are significant but they are also targeted and designed to have their maximum impact on Russia while limiting any spillover on American companies or those of our allies.”
“Russia has continued to destabilize Ukraine and provide support for the separatists, despite its statements to the contrary,” said David S. Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Because Russia has failed to meet the basic standards of international conduct, we are acting today to open Russia’s financial services and energy sectors to sanctions and limit the access of two key Russian banks and two key energy firms to U.S. sources of financing, and to impose blocking sanctions against eight arms firms and a set of senior Russian officials.”
Treasury officials imposed measures against the two banks and two energy firms prohibiting U.S. citizens from making transactions, providing financing or dealing in new debt of longer than 90 days maturity or new equity for Gazprombank OAO and VEB. Gazprombank provides services to more than 45,000 companies and 3 million private individuals, while VEB is a state-owned firm that acts as a development bank and payment agent for the Russian government, Treasury officials said.
The U.S. did not block the property or interests in the property of the banks and energy companies or prohibit transactions with them beyond the specific set of restrictions.
“As a practical matter, this step will close the medium- and long-term U.S. dollar lending window to these banks and will impose additional significant costs on the Russian government for its continued activities in Ukraine,” the Treasury department said.
Asked about the reaction from the American business community, one senior administration official said: “We have heard time and again that the U.S. business community understands the importance of a robust response to the unlawful activity of the Russian Federation in the Crimea and in eastern Ukraine.
“I think the notion that our businesses are not supportive of the U.S. government being forceful in addressing this significant threat is mistaken,” he said. They, like businesses everywhere, want the burden to be shared but in terms of understanding there are burdens to be borne for broader principles beyond just the bottom line, I don’t think our businesses have any difficulty with that notion.”
The European Union was also expected to reveal additional sanctions after a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday night.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)