Russian oil chief Igor Sechin was slapped with sanctions by the United States yesterday in the latest move to pressurise Russia for its military action on its border with Ukraine.
The country’s former Deputy Prime Minister and current Executive Chairman of state oil producer Rosneft, Mr Sechin is believed to be in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors.
He headed the deal to buy rival TNK-BP – an Arctic oil project partly owned by British oil giant BP – in 2012. BP itself owns 20% of Rosneft however yesterday said it would not cut off links with the Russian business.
The 53-year old’s inclusion on the list of sanctions is as an individual with no mention of Rosneft or his role.
But there’s no question it is meant to make things uncomfortable for Russian business leaders, in the hope of forcing Russia to drop its tacit backing of pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine.
Last month, Russia brought the Crimean peninsula back under its control, prompting EU countries to agree to scrap their reliance on Russian gas.