<SUNBIGHT>~US/Russia~Orie~23rd February,2022 @ 18:10 WAT
US President Joe Biden has announced what he called the “first tranche” of sanctions against Russia, including steps to starve the country of financing, saying Moscow had started an invasion of Ukraine.
“We’re implementing sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing,” Biden said, adding that the measures also would target financial institutions, and Russian “elites”.
The US earlier said Russia’s deployment of troops into two Moscow-backed, self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine amounts to the “beginning of an invasion”.
The move came after the United Kingdom slapped sanctions on Russian banks and high net worth individuals while Germany, another of Kyiv’s Western allies, halted the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
Moscow has brushed aside the threat of retaliatory measures from the West, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Russia was accustomed to sanctions.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a previously planned meeting with Lavrov that was set to take place in Geneva on Thursday, accusing Moscow of rejecting diplomacy.
‘The time for sanctions is now,’ says Ukraine foreign minister
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the US sanctions against Russian banks on Tuesday, calling on the world to use “all its economic might to punish Russia”.
Speaking alongside the US’s Blinken, Kuleba accused Putin of killing the Minsk Agreement that aimed to restore peace in eastern Ukraine by recognising the independence of two breakaway Ukrainian regions.
“Russia’s move is a grave breach of international law and a new act of aggression against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore, Ukraine strongly believes that the time for sanctions is now,” he said■