The 18 financial entities represent about 80% of Russia's total banking assets, Ms. Mahuta said in a news release on the New Zealand government's website.
"These sanctions are designed to impose an economic and political cost, specifically targeting organizations that finance the continued invasion of Ukraine," she said. "With this latest round of sanctions, New Zealand is joining countries around the world who have imposed heavy penalties on President (Vladimir) Putin and the system financing his illegal invasion."
New Zealand has already imposed sanctions against Russian entities and leaders, as well as applying a 35% tariff to Russian imports to the country. Further information on the sanctions, which fall under the Russia Sanctions Act 2022, can be found on the government's website.
A spokesman for RDIF declined to comment.
In February, RDIF addressed U.S. sanctions on Russia and the sovereign wealth fund in a statement. It said the restrictions were "complicating RDIF efforts on the international promotion" of Russian vaccines against COVID-19. The statement said that RDIF "was never involved in any political activities, does not interact in any way with Ukraine and follows the world’s best investment practices, which has been acknowledged by all its international partners as well by national regulators. RDIF always fully complies with laws of the countries where it conducts its investments."
A separate statement, dated March 2, said the wealth fund has been "focused on people and improving their quality of life," and that "RDIF supports restoration of peace and hopes negotiations between representatives of Russia and Ukraine are successful. RDIF and its international partners believe that only diplomacy can end this conflict and save human lives."