Sunday, April 21, 2024

US Poised to Hit Russia with Sweeping Sanctions on Over 500 Targets

HomeU.S.US Poised to Hit Russia with Sweeping Sanctions on Over 500 Targets

The United States is preparing to impose sweeping new sanctions on Russia this Friday, marking the somber two-year anniversary of the Ukraine invasion. According to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, over 500 Russian individuals and entities will be targeted in this latest round of sanctions, which is expected to inflict significant damage on Russia’s already battered economy and military capabilities.

The new sanctions come as the Biden administration aims to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for the unprovoked war in Ukraine, which has left tens of thousands dead and reduced cities to rubble over the past two years. They also serve as a response to the recent death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned in 2020 and died in state custody last month. Many believe Putin and his inner circle were behind Navalny’s murder.

President Biden strongly hinted at the impending sanctions after meeting with Navalny’s wife and daughter in San Francisco on Thursday. “Tomorrow we’ll release hundreds of sanctions just here in the United States,” Biden told reporters, adding that the measures have been carefully coordinated with international allies.

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According to sources, the new sanctions will target key sectors like Russia’s defense industry, dual-use industrial and technological capabilities, and global suppliers of materials and technology that support Russia’s war machine. The goal is to cripple Russia’s ability to obtain critical components and revenue needed to sustain the invasion of Ukraine and develop new weapons systems.

“We’re going to impose costs on the key drivers of this Russian aggression — the Russian military industrial complex,” stated a senior administration official. By choking off access to vital inputs, technology and financing, the sanctions aim to set back Russia’s military capabilities substantially.

Previous US sanctions have already battered the Russian economy, crashing the value of the ruble and leading to shortages of consumer goods and machinery. But analysts say Russia has been able to blunt some of the impact through workarounds.

The new sanctions attempt to close loopholes and crack down on evasion through secondary countries and front companies. “We’re targeting a variety of Russia’s most important sources of revenue…These actions will degrade key instruments of Russian state power,” the official emphasized.

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Among the sectors expected to be targeted are Russia’s banking and financial system, its military supply chains, its energy extraction capabilities, and its aerospace and maritime industries. The export restriction on US and allied technological inputs is meant to undermine Russia’s ability to replenish its depleted weapons stockpiles and develop sophisticated new armaments.

We will impose costs on those who provide material support for Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed. The US is also sanctioning Russian proxy governments in occupied Ukrainian territories. Other measures include visa bans on over 1,000 Russian military officials and Russia-based companies illegally operating in Ukraine.

While previous sanctions focused on Russia’s financial sector, these new measures seem intended to directly weaken its hard military power. Since Ukrainian resistance has proven tougher than expected, Russia has leaned more heavily on mass bombardments of civilian areas and infrastructure.

Western officials hope that by degrading Russia’s military production and supply chains, its battlefield capabilities will be directly impacted. This could potentially shift the dynamic in Ukraine’s favor and bring Moscow closer to a negotiated settlement.

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However, President Putin seems undeterred so far, and has made thinly veiled nuclear threats as Western support for Ukraine grows. Observers say that while sanctions are clearly damaging Russia, their deterrent effect is less tangible. The US and Europe face the difficult balancing act of increasing pressure on Russia while avoiding provocation.

With both sides dug in for prolonged conflict, a diplomatic breakthrough remains elusive. But the West hopes sustained economic strangulation will force Russia to eventually reconsider its options. “Our sanctions have had both short and long-term consequences for Russia,” remarked the Treasury official.

Friday’s sanctions are ultimately meant to hasten that reckoning. As President Biden stressed, the US and its partners are firmly resolved to impose rising costs on Russia for its aggression. While the human toll in Ukraine mounts daily, tougher sanctions appear the West’s main policy lever to counter Putin’s ongoing assault.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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