US Sanctions Russia’s Sberbank, Putin’s Daughters, Bans Investment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In reaction to what President Joe Biden called Russian “atrocities” in Ukraine, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Russian banks and elites on Wednesday, April 6, including a prohibition on Americans investing in Russia.

According to US officials, the fresh sanctions target Russia’s Sberbank, which controls one-third of the country’s total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country’s fourth-largest financial institution. The latest measures, however, do not apply to energy transactions, according to officials.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s security council are also sanctioned, according to the officials.

 

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

 

“Today, along with our allies and partners, we’re announcing a new round of devastating sanctions,” Biden stated.

 

Russia, which claims to have initiated a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, denies targeting civilians and claims that the killings were faked by the West.

 

Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, and Alfabank, Russia’s second-largest bank, claimed the new sanctions will have no substantial impact on their operations.

 

The White House also said that Biden would sign an executive order that “includes a prohibition on new investment in Russia by US people wherever located, further isolating Russia from the global economy,” according to officials. This will include a ban on venture capital and mergers.

 

According to a senior administration source, the US is “dramatically amplifying” the financial shock on Russia by shutting off the country’s main banks as part of a package plan with partners.

 

The official stated, “The reality is the country is descending into economic and financial and technological isolation,”  “And at this rate, it will go back to Soviet-style living standards from the 1980s.”

 

On Wednesday, the US Justice Department charged Konstantin Malofeyev, a Russian oligarch, with violating sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

 

Authorities also blocked a form of global harmful computer network known as a “botnet” run by a Russian military intelligence outfit, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

To put even more pressure on Putin, the US has imposed full blocking sanctions on “critical major Russian state-owned enterprises,” which the White House claims will hinder the Kremlin’s ability to pay for its war effort.

 

According to the White House, the US Treasury Department will name those businesses on Thursday, April 7.

 

The US government acted in response to rising allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

 

A mass grave and bodies of victims shot at close range are among the disturbing images coming from Bucha, spurring calls for stiffer sanctions against Moscow and an international probe.

 

On Tuesday, April 5, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed the killings were part of a planned Russian campaign of atrocities.

 

Neither Blinken nor Russia offered any evidence to back up their claims.

 

On Wednesday, a senior French official expected that the European Union would impose further measures.

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