WASHINGTON – United States and European allies tighten sanctions to force Russia to pay invasion of Ukraineand although the sanctions hurt Russia’s economy, they have not yet been able to stop fighting.
On Thursday, the White House announced additional financial sanctions against people close to President Vladimir Putin’s entourage, and the State Department said it was imposing a travel ban. 19 Russian oligarchs and dozens of members of their families and associates.
Earlier this week, the White House announced new sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, including export controls aimed at Russian refineries. The United States has joined Europe and Canada, closing the airspace to Russian airlines. And the Ministry of Justice has announced a new initiative to persecute Russian oligarchs.
The tightening of sanctions has had a surprisingly rapid effect. The ruble has fallen sharply, and inflation is rising, which creates new concerns for Russian consumers – not just the oligarchs, who are targeted by the first measures. The output of foreign companies has led to the closure of automobile plants in Russiaand Boeing and Airbus have stopped supplying spare parts and services to Russian airlines.
Russia’s economy is less than one-tenth the size of the US economy – only half that of California – and economists believe it will shrink furthera fate incompatible with Russia’s position as the world’s second leading nuclear power.
Here are some of the sanctions that are currently in place. Collectively, they constitute one of the most severe punishments imposed on any country other than hostilities.
The new sanctions will affect Putin’s ally Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest men, and Putin’s spokesman, among others. The White House has said they will be cut off from the U.S. financial system and their assets in the United States will be frozen.
BEAT THE CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA
The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have limited Russia’s central bank’s ability to use more than $ 600 billion in foreign currency. This left the central bank with several tools to support the ruble and prevent it from falling in value.
The depreciation of the ruble has led to a spiral of inflation. The Russians lined up in banks to withdraw rubles and convert them into dollars, which reduces the foreign exchange reserves of the central bank.
“In Ukraine, people are standing in line for weapons. In Russia, people are standing at ATMs, because they understand that this money may not be received in two days, or it will be half as much, “- said Ukrainian MP Alexander Ustinov, lobbying US senators even tougher measures.
The West has excluded key Russian banks from a financial messaging system known as SWIFT, which is used every day to transfer billions of dollars between more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world.
The United States and its allies refrained from expelling all of Russia from SWIFT, as they believed, but rejected the move in 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea to Ukraine. Russia has said expelling it from SWIFT would be tantamount to declaring war.
Russia’s withdrawal from Brussels’ SWIFT could also hurt other economies, including the United States and Germany, which buy oil and natural gas from Russia.
Last month, the U.S. said it would restrict exports of technologies such as semiconductors to Russia, and allies in Europe and Japan have cooperated in the move. This week, the Biden administration announced that it was extending this export control to Russian refineries and Belarus.
Recent measures include sanctions against 22 Russian defense organizations that produce fighter jets, drones, tanks, missiles and electronic warfare systems.
President Joe Biden said former export controls would deprive Russia of more than half of its current high-tech supplies and strike at Russia’s hopes of modernizing its military, aerospace and space program.
Export controls may make it difficult for Russia to upgrade aircraft equipment, machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, TVs, tablets and other gadgets. However, the restrictions could simply force Russia to turn to China to meet its needs for these devices and their components.
Exports of oil and natural gas are vital to the Russian economy, but these products have largely been spared sanctions because Western leaders fear steps that could harm their own consumers. Oil prices have already risen since Russia’s invasion.
The White House says all options remain on the table, but a ban on Russian energy imports could limit global supplies and “raise gas pump prices for Americans,” This was announced on Wednesday by White House spokeswoman Caryn Jean-Pierre. “That’s something we’re very aware of.”
Biden is clearly concerned about rising gasoline prices ahead of this year’s by-elections, announcing the release of oil from the Federal Strategic Oil Reserve. Gasoline prices in the US are at their highest level since 2014.
Senators from both major parties have proposed banning Russian oil imports from the United States.
“It makes no sense for us to count on the energy of a country that is actively involved in hostilities against a democracy that seeks freedom – Ukraine – if we are happy with rich energy resources right here in America,” the senator said. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., is a well-known supporter of fossil fuels produced in his state.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that there was enough gas in Europe to go through the heating season, which is beginning to end.
AEROSPACY AND AIRLINES
After days of hesitation over potential revenge, the United States has closed its airspace to Russian airlines. This step was taken only after the European Union and Canada have already banned Russian aircraft.
The U.S. ban is largely symbolic. Russia’s Aeroflot operated only a few flights a week to the United States, and no US passenger airline flew to Russia, although several United Airlines flights passed through Russian airspace en route to and from India. In recent days, freight carriers FedEx and UPS have suspended service to Russia.
While it will take longer to feel this, the announcement that Boeing and Airbus are shutting down parts and technical support for Russian airlines is a matter of more serious concern to Russians. Most aircraft in the Russian fleet are manufactured by one of the two companies, according to aviation researcher Cirium.
The Justice Ministry announced this week that it would set up a group of federal agents and prosecutors to prosecute wealthy Russians or those who help Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or use cryptocurrency to help Russia avoid sanctions. Team, called Task Force Kleptocapturemay seize assets owned by oligarchs.
Prior to the creation of a new team in Washington, France seized a yacht owned by the head of Russia’s state oil company Rosneft, and a German official said the yacht, owned by another Russian billionaire, would not move from the shipyard in Hamburg, where it is located. serviced.
And there is Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire who said he wanted to sell Chelsea, an English football club he owned for 19 years, as he faces possible financial sanctions.
At this week’s game, the opponent’s fans mocked Abramovich’s players, chanting: “You are being sold in the morning.”
Koenig contributed from Dallas.
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