Russia-Ukraine War: New US sanctions on Russia bypass the energy sector | Vladimir Putin | Joe Biden | Donbas | NATO | USA | USA | | WORLD

The US sanctions announced Thursday against they deliberately bypass the energy sector to avoid inflicting pain on Western allies, but leave room for further escalation, according to senior officials.

Washington said the penalties will be severe and will have a lasting impact on the US economy. Russiaalthough they tried to “mitigate” costs on European and American consumers, who already face rising oil prices.

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Highlights of the measures:

Blow to the biggest banks

The Treasury added five Russian banks to the sanctioned list that already includes the two largest banks in the country, both with majority government participation, however each faces penalties of different severity.

Sberbank, which houses about a third of all banking assets in Russia, will be prevented from operating in the US financial system, through what is known as CAPTA (Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions).

But VTB and three other banks were hit with “full blocking sanctions” meaning a complete freeze of assets in the US.

Asked to explain the difference between the two types of sanctions, a senior US administration official told reporters that the decision was due in part to the fact that VTB “had assets in the US that we wanted to freeze” by denying them to the Kremlin. .

Emergency personnel work at the crash site of a Ukrainian military plane south of Kiev on February 24, 2022. (AFP)

On top of the previously announced sanctions, the official said that “the top 10 Russian financial institutions representing about 80% of the Russian banking sector and its assets are under US restrictions.”

However, transactions involving energy, agriculture, and medical products are exempt from financial prohibitions.

Additionally, the largest banks and state-owned companies, including Gazprom’s oil and natural gas units, were excluded from the Western credit market, adding to this the central government’s debt freeze, announced this week.

Blockade of hi-tech goods

Western allies have banned exports of high-tech products and components in an effort to strangle Russia’s military capabilities.

The ban targets the defense and aerospace sectors in particular and includes semiconductors, computers, telecommunications, computer security equipment, lasers and sensors.

Washington said the blockade “will cut off Russia’s vital access to technological inputs, atrophy key sectors of its industrial base and undermine its strategic ambitions.”

The United States, the European Union, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand cooperated in the blockade while waiting for other countries to join.

Putin’s allies in the crosshairs

Washington added to the list Russian oligarchs in government and finance, on whom it says “Putin depends for his fortune and power.”

The officers, including executives at Sberbank and VTB, will have any of their US assets frozen. The penalties are extended to the members of their families to prevent the transfer of resources.

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