April 28, 2014 (ISN) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who played a leading role in the preparations for Sochi 2014, was today among a group of individuals and companies targeted by the United States as tension over the Ukraine continued to escalate.

Kozak is among seven individuals the White House revealed would be subject to US visa bans and asset freezes due to their close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin had last month put Kozak in charge of the economic development of the Crimea following Russia’s controversial annexation of the territory after it had voted to no longer be part of the Ukraine.

The latest sanctions are an attempt to stop President Putin from fomenting the rebellion in eastern Ukraine amid fears Russia is preparing to invade.

Also on the list alongside Kozak is Igor Sechin, head of state energy firm Rosneft, a major sponsor of Sochi 2014.

Last month the White House had placed billionaire Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg, a member of the SportAccord International Convention and International Judo Federation’s Executive Committees, on its sanctions list.

The European Union are expected to announce later this week their own list of Russian individuals and companies facing sanctions.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmtry Kozak gave the closing speech at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty Images
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmtry Kozak gave the closing speech at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, where he appeared alongside IPC President Sir Philip Craven ©Getty Images

Kozak had been appointed by Putin in 2008 with sole responsibility of overseeing and coordinating the construction of the infrastructure for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.

He carried out his role so successfully that, in an unprecedented break with protocol, he was allowed to deliver the final address at the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Paralympics instead of Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko.

Kozak, 55, was originally born in Ukraine but has worked closely with Putin since they were in charge of the St Petersburg city administration during the 1990s.