US to bar Russia from accounting, consulting services in new sanctions package

The White House announced Sunday that the United States will bar Russian companies and citizens from using U.S. accounting, marketing and consulting services as part of a new package of sanctions designed to further punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

The U.S. is also moving to sanction three major Russian-state controlled television stations and impose more export controls on Russia’s industrial sector, according to a White House fact sheet.

And the package includes new visa restrictions on 2,600 Russian and Belarusian officials as well as sanctions on Russian bank executives, among them 27 Gazprombank executives.

“Today’s actions are a continuation of the systematic and methodical removal of Russia from the global financial and economic system,” a senior Biden administration official said on a call with reporters previewing the actions. “The message is there will be no safe haven for the Russian economy if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion continues.”

President Biden held a call with other Group of Seven (G-7) leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday during which the new measures were likely to be a topic of discussion.

The G-7 leaders on Sunday are committing “to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil,” according to the White House fact sheet, which did not include a timeline on that commitment. The U.S. has already banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas, but European nations are far more reliant on Russian energy exports.

The announcement comes a day before Russia’s Victory Day, on which some have speculated Putin could try to declare some symbolic victory against Ukraine despite heavy losses and challenges on the Russian side.

The new U.S. ban on accounting, marketing and consulting services to Russian individuals mirrors a similar action the United Kingdom took last week. The senior Biden administration official confirmed that the ban does not extend to legal services but noted the administration is constantly reevaluating its sanctions and could expand them.

“We made a judgment, at least for now, that if there was a desire to seek due process through a U.S. lawyer, we would allow that to continue,” the official said.

The U.S. is also sanctioning Channel One Russia, Russia’s Channel One television and NTV Broadcasting Company, which the White House said are among the biggest recipients of foreign money.

“After today, no U.S. company can be in the business of funding or supporting the disinformation machine that makes the truth of Putin’s barbaric invasion behind lies and deceit,” the senior administration official told reporters.

Meanwhile, the new export controls will prohibit U.S. exports of industrial products such as engines and bulldozers to Russia. Those restrictions are expected to go into effect on Monday, the official said.

The official also said that the sanctions on executives at Gazprombank, which serves Russian gas giant Gazprom, represent the first time the U.S. is sanctioning someone associated with that bank and signal that the financial institution is not a “safe haven” for Russia.

The U.S. and its allies have steadily imposed sanctions on Moscow in response to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, which began more than two months ago. The new U.S. sanctions are expected to be followed by complementary actions by the European Union.

US to bar Russia from accounting, consulting services in new sanctions package