New US sanctions announced, targeting Russian financial institutions

The new sanctions will impose additional restrictions on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia and target Russian government officials and their families

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2021 (photo credit: SARAH SILBIGER/REUTERS)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2021
(photo credit: SARAH SILBIGER/REUTERS)

The United States on Wednesday announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian financial institutions, as well as Kremlin officials and their family members, following mounting global accusations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The measures include banning new investment in Russia, and sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin's adult children and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's family members.

A senior administration official told reporters that if Putin were to change course in Ukraine, sanctions could slow and possibly reverse.

"Tomorrow, what we're going to announce ... in coordination with the G7 and EU, (is) an additional sweeping package of sanctions measures that will impose costs on Russia and send it further down the road of economic, financial and technological isolation," Psaki said, noting that the G7 and EU comprised around 50% of the global economy.

The measures will "degrade key instruments of Russian state power, impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia, and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war," she said.

She declined to comment on reports that the sanctions would target the daughters of Putin.

 Graves with bodies of civilians, who according to local residents were killed by Russian soldiers, are seen, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine April 4, 2022. The inscription on a cross reads: ''Unknown''.  (credit: REUTERS/VLADYSLAV MUSIIENKO) Graves with bodies of civilians, who according to local residents were killed by Russian soldiers, are seen, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Bucha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine April 4, 2022. The inscription on a cross reads: ''Unknown''. (credit: REUTERS/VLADYSLAV MUSIIENKO)

The US Justice Department on Wednesday also planned to announce new enforcement actions to disrupt and prosecute criminal Russian activity.

Grim images emerging from the Ukrainian city of Bucha include a mass grave and bodies of people shot at close range, prompting calls for tougher action against Moscow and an international investigation. Read full story

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the killings were part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities. Russia, which says it launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24, denies targeting civilians and said images of the deaths were a "monstrous forgery" staged by the West. Neither provided evidence to support the assertions.

A senior French official said the European Union would also likely impose new sanctions on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sberbank may be among the banks targeted.

Two European diplomats said the final package of sanctions would be announced in a coordinated fashion on Wednesday.

In other news, Finnish state railway operator VR on Wednesday said it will gradually halt goods transport to and from neighboring Russia.

Shutting down traffic will take months and considerations must be made to ensure Finland's security of supply, the company said in a statement.

Britain's GlaxoSmithKline has cut ties with the Russian government after sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, the drugmaker's website showed, as the company's consumer arm also stopped imports of supplements and vitamins.

"We support global sanctions and will comply with them," GSK said in its update. "We have taken a precautionary approach to stop, to the fullest extent possible, any direct involvement and support to the Russian government and military."