US sanctions Russian PM and Putin’s ‘adult children’

Citing “atrocities in Ukraine, including in Bucha,” the US on Wednesday rolled out new sanctions against the “Putin regime” and Russian banks, companies and government officials – as well as their family members.

“Today, the United States, with the G7 and the European Union, will continue to impose severe and immediate economic costs on the Putin regime for its atrocities in Ukraine, including in Bucha. We will document and share information on these atrocities and use all appropriate mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible,” the White House said.

President Vladimir Putin’s “adult children” and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter were among the Russians listed in the latest round of “full blocking sanctions,” which the White House says intend to impose “severe and immediate costs” on Moscow. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and former President Dmitry Medvedev were likewise sanctioned, for their membership on the Russian Security Council.

As part of Wednesday’s sanctions, any assets of Sberbank and Alfa Bank “touching” the US financial system have also been blocked, and any Americans banned from doing business with them.

The White House also said that US President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Thursday prohibiting any investment in Russia by Americans wherever they are, to “further isolate Russia from the global economy” and “ensure the enduring weakening of the Russian Federation’s global competitiveness.”

Also on Thursday, the US Treasury will announce the list of “critical major Russian state-owned enterprises,” in order to ban any Americans from doing business with them and freeze their assets subject to US jurisdiction.

The US is also trying to force Russia to default on its sovereign debt, having banned Moscow earlier this week from using funds under US jurisdiction to make payments. The White House said Moscow will now have to “choose between draining its available funds to make debt payments or default.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Medvedev compared the embargoes against Russia to a medieval inquisition, with the US and its “European servants” needing no evidence to accuse Moscow of “witchcraft,” and the accused getting no due process or the right to counsel. The former president and PM noted that the US, UK and Europe still had functioning courts that could “correct a mistake of the inquisitorial process” and that Russia intends to contest the sanctions that way.

Ukraine has accused Russia of killing hundreds of civilians in the town of Bucha, near Kiev. Moscow has denied blame, accused Kiev of staging a “provocation,” and called for an international investigation into the incident.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and end the conflict with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Moscow ended up recognizing the two as independent states, at which point they asked for military aid.

Russia demands that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two Donbass republics by force. – rt