WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is blocking efforts by one of Russia’s largest crude oil companies to export crude to Venezuela.
The move is part of what the U.S. Treasury Department is describing as a coordinated effort to clamp down on three Russian energy companies that are alleged to be helping the Venezuelan government export oil and finance military operations in Ukraine.
“The cumulative impact of these actions will likely spur a swift response from Russia, and the inevitable loss of business for sanctioned entities,” the Treasury Department said in a statement Thursday.
On Tuesday, the U.S. imposed penalties on Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and co-owner Igor Sechin, who sits on President Vladimir Putin’s powerful political council and is an adviser to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“Russia’s investments in Venezuela’s deteriorating economy and pervasive corruption are only making matters worse,” said Adam Szubin, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “To support the Venezuelan people, it is essential that President Maduro take steps to rein in these corrupt actors and return these assets to the Venezuelan people.”
The company Sechin runs, OAO Rosneft, lost the Russian government’s approval to allow it to purchase U.S. petroleum in 2013, amid U.S. and European sanctions targeting Russian companies for backing what the Obama administration called “malign activity.”