United States of America President Joe Biden hit Russia with a wave of sanctions on Thursday after Russia invaded Ukraine, measures that impede Russia’s ability to do business in major currencies along with sanctions against banks and Russian owned enterprises.
Biden said the sanctions were designed to have a long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and its allies. And he said Washington was prepared to do more.
The sanctions are aimed at limiting Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen. Among the targets were five major banks, including state-backed Sberbank and VTB, as well as members of the Russian elite and their families. Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, will no longer be able to transfer money with the assistance of U.S. banks.
Biden met with his counterparts from the Group of Seven allies and his National Security Council on Thursday, after speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy late on Wednesday.
His announcement represented the second major tranche of sanctions against Russia since Putin earlier this week declared two breakaway regions of Ukraine independent and sent troops there.
The United States had warned it would initiate waves of sanctions against Moscow if it further invaded Ukraine, and Russia’s full-on military assault launched on Thursday led to the latest round of Western penalties.
On Wednesday Washington imposed sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and on Tuesday it sanctioned two large Russian financial institutions and Russian sovereign debt along with some members of the Russian elite and their family members.
The moves are aimed at pushing up inflation and interest rates in Russia, lowering purchasing power, investment, growth and living standards, White House economic adviser Daleep Singh told reporters on Thursday.
The White House has warned Americans that the conflict could lead to higher fuel prices in the United States, though it is taking measures to help soften that blow. U.S. officials have been working with counterparts in other countries on a combined release of additional oil from global strategic crude reserves, two sources said on Thursday.
Biden warned oil and gas companies not to “exploit” this moment to raise prices.