The United States on Wednesday announced a new wave of economic and financial sanctions against Russia. Described as “devastating”, they specifically target the banking sector and Vladimir Putin’s daughters.
“We are starving (Russia) of capital, we are starving it of technology, we are starving it of talent and whatever measures we take are creating a spiral that is accelerating as Putin continues to escalate,” a senior US official said on condition of anonymity during a conference call. .
In addition to banning all new investments in Russiaa measure announced Tuesday will see the US executive impose the most severe restrictions on essential public bank Sberbank and the country’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank.
Already the target of less severe sanctions, these institutions will undergo a freeze on all their assets “in touch with the US financial system”, and will not be allowed to engage in any transaction with US actors, according to the White House.
Saved the energy sector
The United States will also impose sanctions on “large strategic public companies”, but did not immediately release a list.
However, the US executive indicated that these measures, designed to make Russia a “pariah” state of the globalized economy, would make exceptions related to the energy sector, the main source of income of the Vladimir Putin regime. The White House reiterates that any sanction will be closely coordinated with US allies, especially with Europeans who are heavily dependent on Russian gas.
The United States had also decided earlier this week to ban Russia from repaying its dollar-denominated debt, raising the risk of default.
Daughters of Vladimir Putin targeted
Washington will also impose sanctions on the Russian president’s two daughters, freezing their assets in the United States and severing their ties to the US financial system. The same treatment will be applied to the wife and daughter of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as to members of the Russian Security Council, including former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.
At the same time as the new sanctions fell, the United States announced the indictment of billionaire Konstantin Malofeev. The oligarch, who is considered one of the main sources of funding for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is accused of “attempting to evade sanctions by using accomplices to secretly acquire media and route Europe.”
The United Kingdom also tightened its sanctions against Moscow on Wednesday, attacking Sberbank like the United States and announcing the end of Russian coal imports.
According to Washington, Russia could see its economy collapse by about 15% this year.