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US Responds to Attacks on Ukrainian Grain Ports with More Sanctions

US sanctions Russia for port attacks
Odesa's port was closed for two days after a December attack interrupted the power supply (Ukraine Embassy photo)

Published Dec 23, 2022 12:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

The United States continues its efforts to sanction organizations that support Russia’s war on Ukraine with the latest efforts focusing on the naval and military operations that attacked Ukraine’s ports and civilian infrastructure including the power grid. 

The U.S. Department of State announced on December 22 that it was designating 10 Russian naval entities, including six entities for operating or having operated in both the defense and related materiel sector and the marine sector of the Russian Federation economy as well as four entities operating in the marine sector of the Russian economy.

“We are committed to imposing additional severe consequences on President Putin and his enablers for Russia’s unconscionable war against Ukraine. In the wake of Russian naval operations against Ukrainian ports, including those that are providing much-needed food and grain to the world, the United States today is imposing sanctions on Russian naval entities,” said Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State announcing the latest sanctions.

The U.S. has sought to support the UN-led effort to maintain the exports of grain and other foodstuffs from three Black Sea ports. The UN with the assistance of Turkey was successful in mid-November winning agreements to extend the initiative that began in July for an additional 120 days. Since the start of the program, the UN Coordination Center in Turkey reports that more than 650 outbound voyages have departed from the three ports in Ukraine carrying nearly 15 million metric tons of foodstuffs.

In mid-December when the attacks increased on infrastructure, Ukraine reported Russia launched 15 drones including targeting both Odesa and Mykolaiv. The port of Odesa suspended operations for 48 hours on December 10 after the Russian strikes left 1.5 million people and the port operations without power.

Among the companies designated in the latest effort is Elektropribor which the U.S. reports develops and manufactures high-precision navigation, gyroscope, gravimetry, optical electronic systems of submarines, and marine communication systems, and Avrora which produces automated control systems for Russian surface ships and submarines. Morinformsystem Agat which is involved in the shipbuilding sector was also included as were research institutes that support the Russian navy. 

A list of all the companies designated in the latest round of sanctions is on the U.S. State Department website.