According to a joint statement from the Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force, a multinational sanctions enforcement group, the US and its allies have blocked or seized over

$58 billion worth of assets belonging to sanctioned Russians in the past year. The move comes as Western governments continue to increase pressure on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.

The REPO Task Force, which is a joint effort between the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the UK, and the European Commission, held its sixth multilateral deputies meeting on Thursday to discuss the group's ongoing work and commitment to "redouble" their efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates.

The group aims to hold Russia accountable for its "unjust war" and counter Russian efforts to undermine, circumvent, or evade collective sanctions. It plans to continue identifying, locating, and freezing the assets of sanctioned Russians, with the aim of depriving the Kremlin of the funds it needs to fight its illegal war.

The task force was formed last March and is taking further steps to crack down on sanctions evasion. The US and its allies are working to seal the cracks in a sanctions regime that has weakened but not crippled the Russian economy.

Following Thursday's meeting, REPO issued a joint global advisory to help the private sector spot and prevent common sanctions evasion methods. These include using family members to maintain access to sanctioned assets, creating complex ownership structures, and using third-party jurisdictions and false trade information to ship controlled goods, including those that support the Kremlin's war machine.

The US was represented at the meeting by Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Marshall Miller, the principal associate deputy attorney general.

The task force has blocked financial assets and seized luxury yachts, high-end real estate, and even priceless art. US officials recovered a possible Fabergé egg from one Russian oligarch's seized yacht last summer.

A US Treasury official told CNN that REPO provides the governments involved a valuable and streamlined mechanism to apply many of the same tools and best practices for the broader effort to crackdown on sanctions evasion.

Over one year into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration is focusing on how to plug the gaps on sanctions evasion. This is a problem that runs the gamut of adversaries like China and allies like Turkey, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, Elizabeth Rosenberg, said last week at the Association of Women in International Trade that the administration would engage companies, banks, regulators, and service providers in a series of jurisdictions assessed to be providing assistance to Russia. This is a broad campaign on which the US is working closely with allies and partners.

The latest crackdown started in earnest in February, on the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, when the Biden administration announced sanctions for "over 200 individuals and entities, including both Russian and third-country actors across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that are supporting Russia's war effort." Those sanctions were imposed in partnership with the G7 and other allies. Photo by Elekes Andor, Wikimedia commons.