• Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

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U.S. to sanction Putin’s adult children, ban all new investments in Russia

WASHINGTON — The U.S. will impose a new round of economic sanctions on Russia, the White House announced on Wednesday, including on the adult children of President Vladimir Putin and other influential Russians, in response to new accusations he committed war crimes in Ukraine.

“These oligarchs and their family members are not allowed to hold on to their wealth in Europe and the United States and keep these yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the luxury vacation homes, while children in Ukraine are being killed, displaced from their homes, every single day,” President Joe Biden said in a speech on Wednesday afternoon.

The U.S. and allies in Europe have already imposed a series of sanctions, including limiting Russian imports and largely cutting the nation off from the international financial system. Many major U.S.-based corporations, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, have also announced they were withdrawing or limiting their operations in Russia after the country launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February.

U.K. Foreign Minister Liz Truss also announced new sanctions on Wednesday, including ending all Russian oil and coal imports by the end of the year.

“Together with our allies, we are showing the Russian elite that they cannot wash their hands of the atrocities committed on Putin’s orders,” she said. “We will not rest until Ukraine prevails.”

Other European allies are also expected to follow suit.

Biden said on Monday that he would roll out more sanctions after calling Putin a “war criminal” for the reported attacks on civilians in Bucha, including images of civilians shot with their hands tied behind their backs.

The sanctions announced on Wednesday target the families of influential Russians, including Putin’s adult children, the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and members of Russia’s Security Council, including former President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

“These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people,” the White House said in a statement earlier Wednesday announcing the new sanctions. “Some of them are responsible for providing the support necessary to underpin Putin’s war on Ukraine.”

The U.S. will also prohibit any new investments in the Russian Federation, Biden said.

“Corporate America is stepping up for a change, from McDonald’s to Exxon, they’ve left the Russian market on their own accord, 600 of them, think about that the private businesses choose to leave Russia rather than risk being associated with Putin’s brutal war,” Biden said. “And this ban on investments is going to make sure new money can’t come into Russia to replace what’s left.”

Image: Serhii Lahovskyi mourns next to the grave of his friend Ihor Lytvynenko, in Bucha
Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, mourns Wednesday next to the grave of his friend Ihor Lytvynenko in Bucha, Ukraine. According to residents he was killed by Russian soldiers after they found him beside a building’s basement.Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

Biden said the U.S. would also impose blocking sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institution Sberbank and on the country’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank. The U.S will also impose full blocking sanctions on any state-owned entities in Russia.

“We’re locking down any accounts, any funds that those banks hold in the United States,” Biden said. “They’ll not be able to touch any of their money. They’ll not be able to do any business here.”

The U.S. Treasury will also prohibit Russia from making debt payments with any funds subject to U.S. jurisdictions, the White House said.