The United States has added the Armenian subsidiary of another Russian commercial bank to a list of companies subjected to U.S. sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Areximbank-Gazprombank, which belongs to Russia’s Gazprombank, is among 37 entities and individuals which the U.S. Treasury Department included in its updated sanctions blacklist late last week.
Gazprombank, which is in turn owned by the Gazprom gas giant, was placed under U.S. sanctions in 2014 along with other Russian firms directly or indirectly controlled by the Kremlin. They included VTB Bank, another big Russian bank also owned by the state.
VTB’s Armenian subsidiary was blacklisted by the U.S. government in December 2015. The sanctions prevent VTB Armenia Bank from attracting financing for longer than 30 days from U.S. entities.
VTB Armenia, one of the largest in the country, downplayed the sanctions at the time, arguing that it attracts the bulk of its capital from Armenian investors and its Russian parent company.
Washington first imposed the sanctions against Russian firms following Russia’s annexation of Crimea more than two years ago. In July 2014, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan urged Armenia to avoid doing business with the Russian companies and individual entrepreneurs put on the sanctions list.
The Armenian government declined to publicly respond to that warning. The Russian Embassy in Armenia, for its part, deplored the “American attempts to complicate the work of Russian business” in the country.