The US is imposing what it describes as “quick and heavy charges” on Russia, including sanctions on a figure the Biden administration says is critical to Russia’s economy after President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of regions of Ukraine following what it said. West casts as “mock referendums.”
Putin signed documents on Friday to formally begin the process of annexing four regions of Ukraine at a ceremony in the Kremlin, a clear violation of international law during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began seven months ago.
In response, the US is announcing sanctions in consultation with G7 allies.
The US, a Biden government official said, “fished additional Russian government officials and leaders, their families, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks, including international suppliers that support Russia’s military-industrial complex,” through announcements from the ministries of foreign affairs. Treasury, trade and state.
That includes sanctions by the Ministry of Finance against a key player to keep the Russian economy afloat: Elvira Nabiullina, an economist who has headed Russia’s central bank since 2013.
President Joe Biden issued a statement on Friday condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.
“The United States today condemns Russia’s fraudulent attempt to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory. Russia is violating international law, trampling on the United Nations Charter and showing its disregard for peaceful nations everywhere,” Biden said, adding that those actions have “no legitimacy” and “will always continue to respect Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.”
He also urged all members of the international community to reject Russia’s illegal attempts at annexation and stand with the Ukrainian people for as long as necessary.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the “United States unequivocally rejects Russia’s fraudulent attempt to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders”.
“We will continue the strong, coordinated efforts of the United States to hold Russia to account, cut off the Russian military from global trade and severely limit its ability to support its aggression and project power,” he said.
Putin spent years building his defenses, amassed hundreds of billions in foreign exchange reserves, put much of Russia’s industrial base under state control, and sold Russia’s vast energy resources to the world. US officials begrudgingly acknowledge that Nabiullina effectively guided Russia through this first phase of sanctions, just as she did in 2014 after Putin’s annexation of Crimea triggered a much less severe set of sanctions from the West.
This time, Nabiullina has deftly raised interest rates, imposed capital controls, and looked for holes and solutions to kick-start a beleaguered economy.
“A good central banker can do things to stimulate the currency,” a senior US official said earlier this year. “They have a very good central banker. We knew that then; we know now.”
Among Biden’s government officials, Nabiullina is seen as arguably the most effective of all of Putin’s top lieutenants.
The US also imposes sanctions on family members of members of the Russian National Security Council, visa restrictions on Ochur-Suge Mongush for human rights violations, sanctions against 14 international suppliers for Russia’s military supply chains, and adds 57 new entities to the Commerce Entity List for export controls, said the officials. In addition, Blinken announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is imposing visa restrictions “on 910 persons, including members of the army of the Russian Federation, Belarusian military officials and Russian proxies for violating the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine. ”
And the US warns, the official said, that “there will be costs to any individual, entity or country that provides political or economic support to Russia as a result of its illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory,” including ” increased sanctions and export control risks” for individuals or entities doing so.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will provide more details about the new steps later Friday afternoon along with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre has previously warned that the US will form “global opposition to Russia’s attempts at annexation, including at the United Nations”.