Japan tightened sanctions against Russia following Moscow’s latest wave of missile attacks in Ukraine. The latest measures include adding goods to an export ban list and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.
In a press release issued on Friday, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry explained that the decision aimed to contribute towards international efforts to secure peace.
Under the new sanctions, starting from February 3, Tokyo will no longer allow exports of certain products to 49 organizations in Russia that could be used to enhance its military potential. The list of banned exports includes products ranging from water cannons, gas exploration equipment, and semiconductor equipment, to vaccines, X-ray inspection equipment, explosives, and robots.
In addition, Japan will seize the assets of 22 individuals and three entities of Russia, including aircraft company JSC Irkut Corp, surface-to-air missile maker MMZ Avangard, deputy defence minister Mikhail Mizintsev, and justice minister Konstantin Chuychenko, and 14 pro-Russian individuals linked to the occupation of southeastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin, in turn, said Japan's sanctions were not a concern since Russia is adapting to life under such restrictions “as compensatory measures are implemented for the economy and for social aspects.”
“Such decisions will do no harm, of course,” TASS quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.
“Of course, we will, first of all, rely on our own interests in choosing retaliatory steps,” the official concluded.
Russia stepped up attempts to break through Ukraine's defences after the Western countries pledged to send high-tech battle tanks to Kyiv. Ukrainian officials reported heavy shelling in the south and east of Ukraine, the battlefield of some of the heaviest combat since Russia launched what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Ukrainian air defence said on Thursday that it shot down 47 out of 59 Russian missiles - some fired from Tu-95, Su-35, and MiG-31K aircraft. Russia also launched 37 air strikes, 17 of them using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. All drones were downed, the Ukrainian military general staff said.
According to Ukrainian officials, a fresh wave of Russian attacks in the east and south Ukraine killed at least 11 people.
Earlier, the leaders of the United States and Germany each announced that they will send contingents of tanks to Ukraine. Canada pledged to send four Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine after Germany last week allowed other countries to re-export the German-built tank. France and Italy are said to be close to finalising the technical details to supply a SAMP/T air defence system to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin considers the promised delivery of Western tanks as evidence of the growing "direct involvement" of the United States and Europe in the 11-month-old war.