US sanctions Putin’s daughters and more Russian banks

US sanctions Putin's daughters and more Russian banks

WASHINGTON, April 6 (Reuters) – The United States targeted Russian banks and elites on Wednesday with a new round of sanctions, including banning Americans from investing in Russia, in response to what President Joe Biden condemned as ” Russian atrocities” in Ukraine.

New sanctions hit Russia’s Sberbank (SBER.MM), which owns a third of Russia’s total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country’s fourth-largest financial institution, US officials said. But energy transactions were exempt from the latest measures, they said.

The United States is also sanctioning the two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and senior members of Russia’s security council, the officials said.

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“I made it clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities in Bucha,” Biden said in a message on Twitter, referring to the city recaptured from Russian forces where civilians were found shot at close range.

“Today, together with our allies and partners, we are announcing a new round of devastating sanctions,” Biden said.

Russia, which says it launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, denies targeting civilians and said the images of the deaths were a “monstrous fake” staged by the West.

Wednesday’s “total lockdown sanctions” will freeze the assets of the two major banks “in contact with the US financial system,” the White House said in a statement.

Britain also froze the assets of Sberbank and said it would ban Russian coal imports by the end of this year in the latest round of sanctions coordinated with the United States and other Western allies to “starve Putin’s war machine.”

Sberbank and Alfabank said the new sanctions would not have a significant impact on their operations. Read more

The White House also said that Biden was signing an executive order to prohibit “new investment in Russia by Americans wherever they are, which will further isolate Russia from the global economy.” This will include a ban on venture capital and mergers, officials said.

“SOVIET-STYLE STANDARDS OF LIVING”

By closing Russia’s largest banks, the United States is “dramatically intensifying” the financial impact on Russia, a senior administration official told reporters.

“The reality is that the country is falling into economic, financial and technological isolation,” the official said. “And at this rate, it will return to the Soviet-style standard of living of the 1980s.”

The director of the White House Economic Council, Brian Deese, said that according to estimates, the Russian economy will contract between 10% and 15% in 2022 and that inflation in Russia is 200%.

Daniel Fried, a former State Department coordinator for sanctions policy in the Obama administration, said the latest package “basically makes Sberbank untouchable.” But he added: “What is missing is what are we going to do with oil and gas,” Russia’s most lucrative export.

In the latest in a series of police actions against Russia, the US Justice Department on Wednesday charged Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev with violating sanctions imposed on Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine, saying he provided financing to the Russians. promoting separatism in Crimea.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said authorities had also disrupted a type of malicious global computer network known as a “botnet” controlled by a Russian military intelligence agency.

Read more

Additionally, Garland announced that the department is cooperating with prosecutors in Europe to begin collecting evidence of possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

In order to further increase pressure on Putin, the United States is also imposing full blocking sanctions on what the White House called “major critical Russian state-owned companies,” which it said would harm the Kremlin’s ability to fund its effort. warlike

Those entities include United Aircraft and United Shipbuilding, Deese said.

Among those sanctioned on Wednesday was Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president and prime minister and one of Putin’s closest allies. Others included Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko.

Medvedev said earlier Wednesday, in a post on the Telegram social network, that Moscow will fight attempts to seize Russian property abroad in courts around the world.

The US government took action amid mounting accusations of war crimes by Russia in Ukraine.

Grim images emerging from Bucha include a mass grave and bodies of people shot at close range, prompting calls for tougher action against Moscow and an international investigation. Read more

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the killings were part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities.

Neither Blinken nor Russia provided evidence to support the claims.

A senior French official said the European Union would also likely impose new sanctions on Wednesday.

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Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Alex Alper, Nandita Bose; additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and David Shepardson; edited by Heather Timmons, Howard Goller, Mark Porter, and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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