The US announced new sanctions on Wednesday that target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two daughters, two Russian banks, and ban US investments in Russia.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions targeted Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, and Alfa-Bank, the country’s largest private bank. The Treasury described the measures as “full blocking sanctions,” but US officials told Reuters that energy transactions are exempt as the US’s European allies are still very reliant on Russian oil, gas, and coal.
Besides sanctioning Putin’s daughters, the new measures also hit the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Members of Russia’s Security Council were also targeted, including former President Dmitry Medvedev.
President Biden also signed an executive order banning anyone in the US from making new investments in Russia.
The UK announced similar sanctions on Wednesday that prohibit investments in Russia and target the Sberbank. The British also sanctioned Russian billionaire Moshe Kantor, who serves as President of the European Jewish Council. The EJC said the move was “misguided,” noting that Kantor hadn’t lived in Russia for years.
So far, the US-led Western sanctions campaign against Russia has done nothing to stop the fighting in Ukraine and doesn’t appear to be hurting Putin. In March, the Russian leader’s approval rating soared to 83%, up from 69% in February.
The Russian ruble has almost totally recovered from the crash that it took when Russia first invaded Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted that despite the ruble’s recovery, Russia’s economy is still “reeling.”
Yellen said that the US goal in its sanctions campaign is to inflict “maximum pain” on Russia’s economy while shielding the US and its European allies from the impact. But Europe is already preparing for gas rationing, and the sanctions came as Americans are facing soaring high gas prices and inflation. President Biden has said that the sanctions would hurt the US to some extent and even warned of “real” food shortages across the world.