The United States announced on Wednesday a new wave of economic and financial sanctions against Russia. Described as “devastating”, they notably target the banking sector and the daughters of Vladimir Putin.
“We are starving (Russia) of capital, we are starving it of technology, we are starving it of talent and all the measures we are taking are creating a spiral that is accelerating as Putin continues to escalate”, explained a senior American official on condition of anonymity during a conference call.
In addition to banning all new investment in Russia, a measure announced on Tuesday, the US executive will impose the most severe constraints on the essential public bank Sberbank and the largest private bank in the country, Alfa Bank.
These institutions, already targeted by less severe sanctions, will undergo a freezing of all their assets “in contact with the American financial system”, and will be prohibited from any transaction with American actors, according to the White House.
The energy sector spared
The United States will also sanction “large strategic public companies”, but did not immediately reveal a list.
The US executive, however, indicated that these measures intended to make Russia a “pariah” state of the globalized economy would make exceptions with regard to the energy sector, the main source of income of the Vladimir regime. Putin. The White House repeats any sanction is closely coordinated with American allies, especially with Europeans who are very dependent on Russian gas.
The United States had also decided earlier this week to prohibit Russia from repaying its debt in dollars, increasing the risk of default.
Vladimir Putin’s daughters targeted
Washington will also sanction the two daughters of the Russian president: their assets in the United States will be frozen and their links with the American financial system severed. The same treatment will be applied to the wife and daughter of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as to the 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, 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 and run media through 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 some 15% this year.