The seizing of Baltic Chief is among the first seen shows of the West implementing sanctions on Moscow over its Ukraine invasion.

France has seized a automotive cargo ship within the English Channel that the US says was linked to the son of a former Russian spy chief, in one of many first seen shows of the West implementing sanctions on Russia for its Ukraine invasion.

The US Division of the Treasury has issued blocking sanctions towards the vessel, which it stated is owned by a subsidiary of Russian lender Promsvyazbank, one of many Russian entities hit by Washington’s sanctions.

The financial institution’s CEO, Pyotr Fradkov, is the son of Mikhail Fradkov, a former head of Russia’s international intelligence service, who additionally served as prime minister underneath Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pyotr Fradkov was himself included within the newest spherical of US sanctions.

The Baltic Chief vessel was headed for Saint Petersburg however was diverted to the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France between 3am and 4am (02:00 – 03:00 GMT), Captain Veronique Magnin, of the French Maritime Prefecture, informed the Reuters information company.

The vessel was “strongly suspected of being linked to Russian pursuits focused by the sanctions”, she stated.

Promsvyazbank informed Reuters in a press release that its subsidiary now not owns the Baltic Chief, which was purchased by a unique entity earlier than the sanctions had been imposed.

Magnin, the maritime prefecture spokeswoman, stated checks had been being carried out by customs officers and the ship’s crew was “being cooperative”.

The US Treasury stated Promsvyazbank was put underneath sanctions “for working or having operated within the defence and associated materiel and monetary providers sectors of the Russian Federation financial system”. It was additionally focused by EU sanctions.

Washington sanctioned two of Russia’s state-owned banks – Promsvyazbank and VEB – and blocked them from buying and selling in its debt on US and European markets. The 2 Russian banks are thought-about particularly near the Kremlin and Russia’s army, with greater than $80bn in belongings.

The Russian embassy in Paris stated it is going to ship a be aware of protest to the French international ministry towards the seizure.

The US, European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Taiwan and New Zealand unveiled a sequence of sanctions towards Russia focusing on banks, oil refineries and army exports.

Chatting with reporters on Friday, White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated the US will impose sanctions on Putin in coordination with the EU.