United States Imposes First Tranche of Swift and Severe Costs on Russia


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Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states and claimed that recognition to include all of the Donbas region. The Russian Parliament also authorized the deployment of additional Russian forces into this Ukrainian territory.

As President Biden and our Allies and partners have made clear, the U.S. will impose significant costs on Russia for Russia’s actions, reads a press release by the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest. “Today, the Administration is implementing the first tranche of sanctions that go far beyond 2014, in coordination with allies and partners in the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Australia. And as President Biden promised, we worked with Germany to ensure the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not move forward.”

The U.S. President has directed the following measures:

  • Full blocking sanctions on two significant Russian financial institutions. The Secretary of the Treasury will impose full blocking sanctions on two large state-owned Russian financial institutions that provide key services crucial to financing the Kremlin and the Russian military: Vnesheconombank and Promsvyazbank and their subsidiaries. Collectively, these institutions hold more than $80 billion in assets and finance the Russian defense sector and economic development. These measures will freeze their assets in the United States, prohibit U.S. individuals and businesses from doing any transactions with them, shut them out of the global financial system, and foreclose access to the U.S. dollar.
  • Expanded sovereign debt prohibitions restricting U.S. individuals and firms from participation in secondary markets for new debt issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  These prohibitions will cut off the Russian government from a key avenue by which it raises capital to fund its priorities and will increase future financing costs. It denies Russia access to key U.S. markets and investors.
  • Full blocking sanctions on five Russian elites and their family members: Aleksandr Bortnikov (and his son, Denis), Sergei Kiriyenko (and his son, Vladimir), and Promsvyazbank CEO Petr Fradkov. These individuals and their relatives directly benefit from their connections with the Kremlin. Other Russian elites and their family members are on notice that additional actions could be taken against them.
  • Today, the Secretary of the Treasury will determine that any institution in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy is a target for further sanctions. Over 80% of Russia’s daily foreign exchange transactions globally are in U.S. dollars and roughly half of Russia’s international trade is conducted in dollars. With this action, no Russian financial institution is safe from our measures, including the largest banks.

“These actions come in addition to steps being taken by our Allies and partners and represent our first response to Russia’s actions. As President Biden made clear, Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression,” concludes the press release.

Previously, EU foreign ministers will discuss a package of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday with a view to enforcing it as soon as possible.

Canada, Japan, also announced sanctions against Russia

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced a series of economic “sanctions” against Russia “until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored.”

More precisely, Canada will “prohibit Canadians from conducting any foreign transactions” with the pro-Russian separatist territories of Lugansk and Donetsk and will impose sanctions on Russian lawmakers who voted in favor of the “illegal decision to recognize those territories,” Trudeau said in a statement, following announcements of sanctions by Europe and the United States.

Moreover, “additional sanctions” will be imposed on state-backed Russian banks, and Canada will “ban any financial transactions with them,” he added.

Japan is imposing sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, as well, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday, calling Moscow’s actions an unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.

Japan’s sanctions include a ban on bonds issued by Russia in Japan and a freeze on Russian accounts, as well as a restriction on travel to Japan, Kishida said.

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