U.S. hits Chinese, Russian firms for aiding Russian military
By Karen Freifeld, Susan Heavey and Alexandra Alper
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Friday added Chinese and Russian companies, including Russia's No. 2 mobile phone operator, to a trade blacklist for allegedly supporting the Russian military, deepening its crackdown on Moscow on the first anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine.
The actions by the U.S. Commerce Department aim "to cut off the Russian defense industrial base and military from even low-technology consumer goods Russia seeks to obtain to sustain the war effort," it said.
The moves show President Joe Biden's administration is broadening its efforts to thwart Russia's military, targeting companies globally for helping Moscow evade export restrictions and access key technologies.
The Commerce Department added Public Joint Stock Company Megafon, Russia's second-largest mobile phone operator, to its entity list for allegedly "acquiring and attempting to acquire" U.S. technology to support Russia's military.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The blacklisted companies also include two Chinese satellite companies, Spacety Co Ltd, and China HEAD Aerospace Technology Co, which also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Spacety Co, which was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in January, at the time said it complied with international sanctions against Russia and maintained no ties with the country after the restrictions were imposed.
The agency also imposed new export curbs on Iran, targeting Russia's use of Iranian-made drones in Ukraine.
Of the scores of new additions to its trade restriction list, 79 were Russia-based, five are listed under China, and two are based in Canada. Another three entities are based in France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
Five of the Russian entities were listed for providing support for what the United States called "filtration operations" in occupied areas of Ukraine, which include "the use of biometric technology in suppressing Ukrainian resistance and enforcing loyalty among the Ukrainian population in occupied areas."
Companies on the list are restricted from receiving U.S.-origin goods and technology.
China on Friday said the only sanctions that should be imposed on Russia should be endorsed by the U.N. Security Council - where the Russians hold veto power - and unilateral sanctions and pressure "only create new problems."
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Karen Freifeld; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Caitlin Webber, Alexandra Alper, Tomasz Janowski and Mark Porter)