U.S. blacklists a dozen Russian firms over drone work

(Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday added 12 Russian companies to a trade blacklist for supporting Russia’s military with drones that could be used to aid in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The companies added to the list, which include Hartis DV LLC and Alfakomponent, will effectively be barred from receiving items from suppliers except for possibly food and medicine, the Commerce Department added.

The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod said the Commerce Department will continue to leverage every authority to target Russia’s procurement of technologies needed for drones.

The agency also added an Uzbek company to the list for the same reasons.

The Biden administration has been aggressively using its trade blacklist, formally known as the entity list, to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine by making it harder for its military to get key technology from abroad. Critics have questioned how effective it has been.

Putin describes the conflict, which started last February, as a special military operation.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)