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White House To Announce Fresh Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine

WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) – The United States will announce potentially severe new sanctions and export controls against Russia on Tuesday in response to Moscow’s decision to recognize two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent and send troops there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday told Russia’s defense ministry to deploy forces into the two regions to “keep the peace,” defying Western warnings that such a step would be illegal and wreck peace negotiations. 

“The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters after a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday evening. Read full story

“We can, will, and must stand united in our calls for Russia to withdraw its forces, return to the diplomatic table and work toward peace.”

A White House spokesperson on Monday said the announcement of sanctions would be coordinated with allies and partners. 

Earlier in the day, Britain vowed to impose sanctions on Russia, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to agree to a package of immediate sanctions against Russia at an 0630 GMT meeting of the government’s crisis response committee on Tuesday. Read full story

Reuters could not determine what sanctions or export controls might be announced, but the Biden administration has prepared an initial package that includes barring U.S. financial institutions from processing transactions for major Russian banks, people familiar with the matter said over the weekend. Read full story

The measures aim to hurt the Russian economy by cutting the “correspondent” banking relationships between targeted Russian banks and U.S. banks that enable international payments.

The United States could also wield its most powerful sanctioning tool against certain Russian individuals and companies by placing them on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, effectively kicking them out of the U.S. banking system, banning their trade with Americans and freezing their U.S. assets, the same sources said.

The Biden administration has said it plans to spare everyday Russians from the brunt of U.S. export controls if Russia invades Ukraine, and focus on targeting industrial sectors, a White House official said in late January. Still, “key people” will also face “massive sanctions,” White House national security official Peter Harrell said in a speech in Massachusetts. Read full story

Export control measures could also be announced as part of the package but would probably not have the same immediate impacts, and instead “degrade Russia’s ability to have industrial production in a couple of key sectors.” 

Expanding the scope of the so-called Foreign Direct Product Rule to Russia, in a way that mirrors a Trump-era move against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies HWT.UL, could allow the United States to stop shipments of chips, computers, consumer electronics, telecommunications equipment, and other items made anywhere in the world if they were produced using U.S. technology.

Harrell did not detail which sectors, but other White House officials have mentioned aviation, maritime, robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and defense. 

(Reporting by Chris Sanders, Jeff Mason and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Karen Freifeld and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)


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