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A Look at the Sanctions Announced Against Russia After Attack on Ukraine

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President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, charging that Russian leader Vladimir Putin “chose this war" and that his country will bear the consequences of his action.

The West and its allies showed no inclination to send troops into Ukraine — a non-member of NATO — and risk a wider European war. But NATO reinforced its member states in Eastern Europe as a precaution against an attack on them, too.

Here's a look at what has been announced so far:

United States

The sanctions target Russian banks, oligarchs, and high-tech sectors, Biden said. The United States and its allies will block assets of four large Russian banks, impose export controls and sanction oligarchs

The penalties fall in line with the White House’s insistence that it would look to hit Russia’s financial system and Putin's inner circle, while also imposing export controls that would aim to starve Russia’s industries and military of U.S. semiconductors and other high-tech products.

Biden, for now, held off imposing some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe, or Russia's energy sector.

Biden announced the sanctions as Ukraine’s government reported mounting casualties as Russian forces attack from the east, north and south.

Biden had previously announced sanctions over the past few days against Russian banks and oligarchs and warned of even heavier penalties in the event of an attack.

Other Countries

Countries from Japan, South Korea and Australia to Western Europe and the U.S. lined up to condemn the attack and began taking steps to isolate Moscow in hopes of forcing it to pay so high a price that it changes course.

As the first major world leader to make a big move, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a freeze on the assets of all large Russian banks and plans to bar Russian companies and the Kremlin from raising money on British markets.

Britain will also ban the export to Russia of a wide range of high-tech products, including semiconductors, and prohibit the nation’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, from landing at British airports.

Johnson called the attack “hideous and barbaric” and said of Putin: “Now we see him for what he is — a bloodstained aggressor who believes in imperial conquest.”

Canada imposed sanctions that will target 58 people and entities, including members of Russia's elite and their families, the paramilitary Wagner Group and major Russian banks. The punitive measures, announced after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a virtual meeting of G-7 industrialized nations, will also affect members of the Russian Security Council, including key cabinet ministers.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Stoltenberg likewise called the invasion a “barbaric" attack on an independent nation that threatened “the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order.” The European Union scheduled an emergency summit in Brussels to consider sanctions.

Von der Leyen said she would propose "massive and targeted sanctions” that would block the country's access to key technologies and financial markets and freeze Russian assets in Europe.

“We want to cut off Russia’s industry from the technologies desperately needed today to build the future,” von der Leyen said.

In the days before the attack, Germany suspended approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, and the EU imposed sanctions against hundreds of Russian lawmakers and other officials and institutions from the defense and banking worlds.

Separately, the U.N. is expected to vote Friday on a resolution condemning Russia and demanding the immediate withdrawal of all its forces. But Moscow is certain to veto the measure.

Highlighting a widening rift in superpower relations, China stood alone in failing to condemn the attack and instead accused the United States and its allies of worsening the crisis.

In a clear defense of Moscow, China “called on parties to respect others’ legitimate security concerns.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “all parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war” — language China has consistently used to criticize the West in the crisis.

China went further and approved imports of wheat from Russia, a move that could reduce the impact of Western sanctions. Russia, one of the biggest wheat producers, would be vulnerable if foreign markets were closed off.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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