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Washington levied sanctions Tuesday on a Rosneft subsidiary—Rosneft Trading, in the latest round of The United States’ maximum pressure campaign on the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela, according to senior Trump administration officials.
“Today we sanctioned Russian-owned oil firm Rosneft Trading S.A., cutting off Maduro’s main lifeline to evade our sanctions on the Venezuelan oil sector. Those who prop up the corrupt regime and enable its repression of the Venezuelan people will be held accountable,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet.
Rosneft said of the new sanctions that they were an “outrage”.
The sanctions block all US assets of Rosneft Trading and its director, Didier Casimiro, and will extend to anyone doing business—any business--with Rosneft Trading.
The Trump administration referred to Rosneft Trading as the “gravest violator” of the imposed limits on Maduro as much of the Western world wants him ousted—and fast. Specifically, the US is alleging that Rosneft has sent oil tankers to Venezuelan ports with the location tracking system disabled and has transferred Venezuelan oil in the middle of international waters to ship on to Asia and West Africa.
It is also possible that recent talks between Rosneft and Venezuela that would see Rosneft take over some PDVSA assets was enough to spook the Trump administration into further action.
The extra sanctions added today serve not only as a warning to Rosneft, but will apply even greater pressure on Maduro, who is desperately clinging to power no matter what painful economic measures the US throws his way. Maduro’s staying power is due in part to Rosneft’s support.
The additional sanctions, which include a 90-day wind down period for companies doing business with Rosneft, received bipartisan support in the US.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.