US plans sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s inner circle if Russia turns to Ukraine

The United States has imposed sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and his ties to the West, while Washington is expanding the list of financial sanctions it is ready to impose if Russia invades Ukraine.

Senior officials told the Financial Times that a list of individuals and family members to be sanctioned had been developed in coordination with US allies as part of efforts to punish the Russian president in the event of an attack.

“The individuals we identify are in or near Kremlin inner circles and play a role in government decision-making or are at least complicit in the Kremlin’s destabilizing behavior,” US officials said.

Administration officials did not name the Russian oligarchs and family members in question, but said many of them were “particularly vulnerable targets due to their deepened financial ties to the West.”

“Sanctions will take them away from the international financial system and ensure that they and their families can no longer enjoy the benefits of parking their money in the West and attending elite Western universities,” said senior Biden officials. .

Measures to target Russian oligarchs will come in addition to broader sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, including banking and energy, which the United States and its allies have been discussing for weeks.

The US plans also emerged when the United Kingdom directed Russian oligarchs in the spotlight for sanctions in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.

“Any company of interest to the Kremlin and the regime in Russia could be targeted, so there is nowhere to hide from Putin’s oligarchs, Russian companies involved in maintaining the Russian state,” said Liz Truss, foreign minister. works in the UK. Sunday before a speech before the House of Commons on Monday.

In Washington, senior officials of the Biden administration said the targets were chosen from among Russian leaders, officials, senior executives or members of the boards of directors of state-owned companies. They could work in “any sector of the Russian economy as identified by the Minister of Finance” and be extended to spouses and children.

U.S. officials said some of the individuals were selected from a classified list of senior political figures and Russian oligarchs sent to Congress by the Treasury Department in 2018, known as section 241 of the Anti-America Opposition to Sanctions Act, a law that adopted in 2017

“Putin’s friends will no longer be able to use their husbands or other family members as proxies to avoid sanctions,” senior officials said.

The UK’s parallel efforts, focused on the oligarchs, will be particularly important for the United States, given that many members of Russia’s elite have assets and other financial ties to Britain.

“The United States and the United Kingdom are one step closer, and we are ready – in coordination with other allies and partners – to incur huge costs if Russia invades Ukraine further. Russia knows this. “We welcome the UK’s strong partnership to impose existing sanctions for malicious activity and to prepare packages of strong economic measures to deter further Russian aggression,” a White House National Security Council spokesman told the FT.

Sanctions against Russia’s elite do not prevent Washington from imposing sanctions aimed directly at Putin – which Biden said was possible last week.

“This is not an exhaustive list of costs we will impose, all options remain on the table. All options remain on the table, “said senior officials.

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