War in Ukraine: what are the new “devastating” sanctions of the United States against Russia?

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The United States announced on Wednesday a new round of sanctions against Russia, targeting in particular banks and elites of the country, after Washington and Kyiv accused Moscow of being at the origin of war crimes in Ukraine.

US officials have announced that the new sanctions are aimed at Sberbank, Russia’s leading bank with almost a third of the country’s overall banking assets, and the private bank Alfa Bank. Transactions in the energy sector are exempt from sanctions, they said.

The United States is also attacking the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin by imposing sanctions against two girls of the last. The wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are also targeted, as well as members of Russia’s Security Council.

The White House has indicated that Joe Biden will sign an executive order prohibiting Americans to proceed with “any new investment in Russia” with the aim of further isolating Moscow from the world economy. “I made it clear that Russia would immediately pay the high price for his atrocities in Boutcha“, said Joe Biden on Twitter, referring to the Ukrainian city where many corpses were discovered after the withdrawal of Russian troops.

I made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha. Today, along with our Allies and partners, we’re announcing a new round of devastating sanctions. https://t.co/LVqTDIOSvz

— President Biden (@POTUS) April 6, 2022

“Today, together with our allies and partners, we are announcing a new series devastating penalties“, added the American president. Sberbank and Alfa Bank declared shortly after these announcements that the new sanctions would not have a major impact on their activities. While Great Britain announced on its side measures against Russia , European Union diplomats failed to agree on a fifth round of sanctions, three sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Further isolate Moscow

The United States is “significantly intensifying” Russia’s financial shock by isolating the country’s largest banks, a senior administration official told reporters.

“The reality is that the country is sinking into economic and financial and technological isolation,” he said. “And at this rate, it will return to the standard of living of the Soviet period of the 1980s.” In order to increase the pressure on Vladimir Putin, the United States is also attacking “the main Russian state enterprises” in order to harm the Kremlin’s ability to finance its war effort.

The Treasury Department will disclose the names of the affected entities on Thursday, the White House said. Ukrainian authorities on Sunday accused Russian troops of committing a “massacre” in the town of Butchaabout forty kilometers north of Kyiv, after the discovery of hundreds of bodies of civilians strewing the streets, some of whom, tied up, had been killed at point-blank range.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the atrocities were part of a deliberate Russian campaign. Moscow, which claims to have launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, denies having targeted civilians and that the images of civilians executed were a “monstrous falsification” staged by the West.

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