Japan adds Russia sanctions, US envoy offers shelter to Ukrainians

© . FILE PHOTO: Vehicles are parked near the office building of Rosoboronexport company in Moscow, Russia, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (Fixes typo in paragraph two) By Kantaro Komiya and Ju-min Park TOKYO () – Japan will impose sanctions on 15 Russian individuals and nine organizations, it said Friday, including defense officials and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport. The sanctions, including the asset freeze, are Japan’s last measures since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24. They now concern 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other agencies in Russia, the finance ministry said. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several military equipment manufacturers such as United Aircraft Corp, which produces fighter jets, are among the sanctions in Friday’s measures. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address the Japanese parliament next week, said former minister Taro Kono, who now heads public relations for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Russia calls its action in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory, but to destroy the military capabilities of its southern neighbor and imprison what it considers dangerous nationalists. US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who praised Japan’s action as “hitting the heart of the Russian war machine”, has offered to accommodate Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in his residence until they find permanent housing in Japan. Japan has long been a refugee and is preparing to take Ukrainian evacuees, with 47 who have arrived since the outbreak of the war. “We also want to do our part by helping the evacuees until they are able to move to more permanent homes,” Ambassador Emanuel, the grandson of Ukrainian immigrants, said in a statement. This week, a US Air Force cargo plane flew to Ukraine carrying helmets and other non-lethal military equipment donated by Japan. Japan, a key US ally on security in Asia, still has interests in gas and oil projects on the Russian island of Sakhalin after major energy companies Shell (LON:) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:) pulled out of the deal. these projects. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has not given a clear indication of the fate of Japan’s investment in the projects, underlining both its importance to its energy security and its intention to keep pace with the sanctions of G7 colleagues against Russia. The Russian ambassador to Japan has said it made sense to maintain “mutually beneficial” energy projects in Sakhalin. Japan also has no plans to ban Russian seafood, according to the Jiji Press news agency. Seafood makes up 9% of Japan’s total imports from Russia, on which it relies heavily for products like sea urchins and frozen crab, says the nonprofit think tank Japan Forum on International Relations. (This story is being re-archived to correct typos in paragraph two)

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