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Japan expands sanctions over Kyiv invasion

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Tokyo – Japan announced expanded sanctions on Friday over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, revealing dozens of newly sanctioned firms and other organizations, including export bans against some outside Russia and its ally Belarus.

Tokyo added to its sanctions list 57 organizations in Russia and six others in countries including the United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Syria and Uzbekistan, the trade ministry said in a statement.

With the additions, Japan has now imposed an export ban on 494 Russian organizations, 27 Belarusian entities and six more in other countries.

Russia was hit with a wave of sanctions after it sent forces into Ukraine in February last year, but calls have grown from Kyiv and its allies for tougher action against Moscow.

Tokyo had already frozen assets of Russian individuals and groups, and banned the export of goods to Russia’s military-related organisations, as well as the export of construction and engineering services.

The new sanctions will take effect on Dec. 22 for newly added Russian organizations, and on Dec 27 for other entities.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said Friday its air defense systems had downed more than a dozen Iranian-designed attack drones in the latest overnight barrage by Russia.

Kyiv believes Moscow has stockpiled munitions to strike Ukrainian infrastructure over the winter months, and the capital has been targeted by missiles in recent days.

“During the night of December 15, 2023, the enemy attacked with Shahed-type attack drones,” the Ukrainian air force said, adding that all 14 drones had been downed.

It said the drones were launched from the Krasnodar region in western Russia and had been downed over the Mykolaiv, Kherson, Khmelnytskyi and Poltava regions.

During the winter of 2022, such strikes left millions of people without power for long periods during a cold snap.

Kyiv has since reinforced its air defense systems with weapons from its European and US allies, but says more is needed to protect vulnerable regions.

At the Group of Seven summit in Japan in May, the bloc’s leaders agreed to “starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine”.

The United States, Britain and the European Union have levied crushing sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, as well as committed billions of dollars in military aid to Kyiv. AFP

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