EU, Britain and US – Announced Sanctions Against Russia
The United States announced Friday that the assets Russian President Vladimir Putin’s and Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov would be frozen. It follows similar steps taken by Britain (EU) and Britain (UK). This was part of a global effort to tighten sanctions on Russia’s government for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
After EU foreign ministers gathered in Brussels, they unanimously agreed that it was necessary to immediately freeze the assets and bank accounts of high-ranking Russian officials.
British Prime Minister David Cameron took the same action, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also tweeted, “We will not stop inflicting economically pain on Kremlin, until Ukrainian sovereignty has been restored.”
Maria Zakharova a spokeswoman from the Russian foreign ministry said that sanctions against Putin & Lavrov reflected “absolute weakness” of the West in foreign affairs, according the RIA news Agency.
World leaders are rarely targeted by direct sanctions. According to Agence France Presse, the only other EU sanctioned leaders are Bashar Al-Assad (Syrian President) and Alexander Lukasenko (Belarus President).
Alexander Schallenberg (Austrian Foreign Minister) said the move was a “unique in history” to a country which has a permanent U.N. Security Council member. But, it also showed how united EU members were in opposing Russia’s actions.
EU sanctions against Putin (and Lavrov) are part an broader sanctions package targeting Russian banks, oil refineries, and Russia’s defense industry.
EU leaders were able to agree that it was prematurely to impose a travel ban against Putin and Lavrov. But, the negotiating channels have to remain open.
Boris Johnson (British Prime Minister) called on Friday for all nations to stop Russia from SWIFT, the international bank transfer system. This was “to inflict maximal pain.”
Ukraine has called for a SWIFT Ban on Russia. They also urged Europe to exert more force in imposing sanctions against Moscow. However, Germany and other European countries are not ready to make that move.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Bastock stated that Friday’s EU-passed banking sanctions would have a greater impact on Putin than the exclusion of Russia from SWIFT payments.
She explained that the sword that appears the most difficult isn’t always also the most intelligent.
Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg Foreign Minister) stated that “the debate about SWIFT” is not off the table. It will continue.”
Russia has taken its own steps to respond to the British flight bans.
Tuesday was the first round of sanctions that the United States, along with several allies, imposed on Putin’s eastern Ukraine region of Luhansk.
Biden added a new round of sanctions on Russia Thursday, hours after Russia invaded Ukraine.