U.S. Sanctions Russia’s Largest Bank, Putin’s Daughters

In a new round of sanctions, the United States has banned American investments in Russia, imposed penalties on family members of Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials and tightened restrictions on Sberbank, the country’s largest financial institution.

The sanctions also target Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest privately-owned financial institution.

The fresh sanctions, announced on Wednesday, come as the United States and its Western allies accuse Russia of war crimes in Ukraine after the discovery of atrocities in areas near Kyiv that had been occupied by Russian forces. The measures were taken in coordination with other G7 countries and the European Union, the White House said in a statement.

“This action will freeze any of Sberbank’s and Alfa Bank’s assets touching the US financial system and prohibit US persons from doing business with them,” the White House said.

“Sberbank holds nearly one-third of the overall Russian banking sector’s assets and is systemically critical to the Russian economy.”

Penalties were also imposed on Putin’s two adult daughters as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter.

“Russia’s military forces have committed heinous atrocities in Ukraine and the global community must hold them to account,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “Today we are taking additional steps to cut off Russia from international markets in response to Putin’s continued brutality. This serious action, including fully blocking Russia’s largest bank and banning new investment in Russia, will further restrict Putin’s ability to fund and supply his war.”

The Biden administration already took some steps in February to cut off Sberbank from the U.S. financial system after Russia’s initial invasion, but it stopped short of the type of full blocking sanctions that it placed on VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank.

The Treasury also confirmed this week that it is now banning Russia from using its frozen central bank reserves to make payments to bondholders. That means the Kremlin will have to find new sources of funding and new payment routes other than U.S. banks to avoid defaulting on its debt, the official said.


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