The US imposes sanctions on the Russian FSB and IRGC

The US imposes new sanctions against the Russian Federal Security Service and the Intelligence Organisation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), accused of taking US citizens hostage.

The sanctions target entities considered by the United States to be responsible for the hostage-taking or wrongful detention of Americans. These are the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Intelligence Organisation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Four Iranian individuals have also been sanctioned.

US officials said the actions should serve as a warning to those contemplating taking Americans, hostage. “We are also showing that you cannot engage in such horrific acts, using people as pawns, as bargaining chips, not paying the consequences, and these are some of the consequences,” said a senior US presidential administration official.

On 30 March, the Russian Federal Security Service detained US citizen and Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich in Yekaterinburg who, according to the media, he was preparing a story about the Russians’ attitude towards the Wagner Group terrorist organisation.

The Wall Street Journal described the journalist’s detention as hostage-taking by a terrorist state and demanded that US President Joe Biden’s administration expel the Russian ambassador and all Russian journalists working in the United States.
Biden called on Russia to release Gershkovich but noted that the United States was not yet planning to expel Russian diplomats and journalists in response.

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