Apr 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. hits Russia with fresh sanctions after Bucha killings

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S., its G7 allies and the European Union are banning new investment in Russia and sanctioning Russia's largest bank, as well as Russian elites including Vladimir Putin's adult daughters.

Why it matters: A senior administration official told reporters that the steps were necessitated by the "sickening brutality in Bucha," a Kyiv suburb where the bodies of dozens of civilians were discovered after Russian troops pulled out. The official said the sanctions over Russia's invasion would push the country back to Soviet-era living standards.

Driving the news: The U.S. is “dramatically escalating the financial shock” to Russia by imposing blocking sanctions on Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, as well as Alfa Bank, the official said, though energy deals will be exempted.

  • The ban on investment in Russia was coordinated with the EU and G7, and part of an effort to “methodically eject Russia from the international economic order,” the official said.
  • Additional individuals were also sanctioned, including former President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Between the lines: The U.S. official said each new round of sanctions is designed to “create a downward spiral that accelerates the more that Putin escalates.”

  • "None of this permanent,” the official said, suggesting that sanctions could be lifted at some point in the future depending on Putin’s actions.
  • “The only aspect that’s permanent are the lives that he’s taken away, and he can never bring those back."

State of play: International sanctions are projected to wipe out 15 years of economic growth and push Russia’s economy from 11th-largest in the world to outside the top 20, the official said.

  • Russians will be forced to buy knock-off products and clothes, and return to “Soviet-level” living standards, the U.S. official added.

Yes, but: It’s not clear that sanctions will turn Russians against the war and their president. Opinion polls that are available so far suggest the opposite might actually be happening.

What's next: The EU is working on its own package of sanctions that would ban imports of Russian coal — estimated to be worth $4.4 billion per year  — and restrict Russian vessels and road transport operators from accessing the EU.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates

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