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Ukraine crisis: Banks, Vladimir Putin kin sanctioned

Sberbank is the main artery in the Russian financial system and holds over a third of the country’s financial assets

Katie Rogers Washington Published 07.04.22, 02:26 AM
Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin File Photo

The US and its allies, seeking to punish Russia for the killings of Ukrainian citizens in Bucha, moved on Wednesday to impose full sanctions against Russia’s largest financial institutions and to block family members of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and several of his closest associates from access to financial assets held in the US.

A senior administration official, detailing the suite of sanctions for reporters but not authorised to speak publicly, said that the US, working with the G7 and the EU, had imposed “full blocking” sanctions against Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia, and Alfa Bank, one of the country’s largest privately owned banks.


Sberbank is the main artery in the Russian financial system and holds over a third of the country’s financial assets. In February, the treasury had announced limited sanctions against Sberbank, but Wednesday’s sanctions, the official said, will effectively freeze relations between the bank and the US financial system.

The administration also announced sanctions against Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, two adult daughters of Putin. Others connected to Russian officials close to Putin will also face sanctions, including the wife and daughter of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and members of Russia’s security council, including Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

The official said that those people would be effectively cut off from the US banking system and any assets held in the US.

The treasury will also block Russia from making debt payments with assets that are subject to US jurisdiction, a move that will force Russia to find new sources of funding outside its frozen central bank funds. The end result, the official said, was that Russian citizens will return to Soviet-era living standards of the 1980s, and Putin will find himself increasingly a pariah.

So far, Putin has resisted increasingly harsh consequences, continuing his invasion of Ukraine even as western nations move to freeze him out of the international economic order.

The Biden administration had been under pressure to announce new actions against Russia since reports surfaced of Russian soldiers’ indiscriminately killing Ukrainian civilians in Bucha. On Monday, President Biden had promised new sanctions and called Putin a “war criminal”, though he did not call the violent acts in Bucha genocide.

Biden plans to sign an executive order that bans all new investment in the Russian Federation by US citizens, wherever they are.

(New York Times News Service)

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