In retaliation for “war crimes” in Ukraine, the US announced sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters and said it was toughening penalties against Russian banks.
Following recent evidence of atrocities in the aftermath of Russian forces retreating from areas around Kyiv, including the town of Bucha, the United Kingdom and the European Union were set to take additional steps, including a ban on new investment in Russia and an EU coal embargo.
Sberbank and Alfa Bank, two of Russia’s largest banks, were sanctioned by the US, preventing assets from entering the US financial system and prohibiting Americans from doing business with them.
In addition to sanctions against Putin’s adult daughters, Mariya Putina and Katerina Tikhonova, the United States is targeting Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and children, and members of Russia’s Security Council, including former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
All of Putin’s close family members have been cut off from the US financial system, and any assets they have in the US have been frozen.
The latest round of sanctions, according to President Joe Biden, is “devastating.”
In a tweet, Biden stated, “I made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha.”
Biden was expected to sign an executive order prohibiting new American investment in Russia, regardless of where they are living. According to the White House, the US Treasury Department is preparing new sanctions against major Russian state-owned enterprises.
Videos and images of bodies in the streets of Bucha after it was recaptured from Russian forces have sparked outrage among Western allies, prompting the imposition of new sanctions.
The proposed ban on coal imports by the European Commission would be the first EU sanctions aimed at Russia’s lucrative energy industry in response to its war in Ukraine.
Energy is crucial to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war coffers, according to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. Following the expulsion of Russian diplomats by several European countries, the European Commission proposed a fifth round of sanctions, including a coal import ban, that could be implemented as early as Wednesday if the 27-nation bloc’s ambassadors agree unanimously.
All new investments in Russia will be prohibited by the US and its Western allies. Greater sanctions on Russia’s financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, as well as sanctions on government officials and their families, are among the other measures being taken against the country, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Separately, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday that any payments of Russian government debt made in US dollars from accounts at US financial institutions would be blocked, making it more difficult for Russia to meet its financial obligations.
The coal ban is worth 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) per year, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU has already begun working on additional sanctions, including on oil imports.
She didn’t mention natural gas, despite the fact that reaching an agreement among the EU’s 27 member states on how to target the fuel used to generate electricity and heat homes is difficult due to opposition from gas-dependent countries such as Germany, the bloc’s largest economy.
However, European Council President Charles Michel said the EU should keep up the pressure on Russia, suggesting that an embargo on gas imports may be necessary in the future.
The commission’s new package of measures also includes sanctions against more individuals and four major Russian banks, including VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank. Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels would also be barred from EU ports.
Export bans worth ten billion euros were also proposed in sectors such as quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery, and transportation equipment.
Several Russian banks have already been cut off from the SWIFT financial messaging system, which moves tens of billions of dollars every day between more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world.