The US along with G-7 and the European Union on Wednesday announced a series of additional sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's wife and the other Russian elites and imposed full blocking sanctions on the country's largest banks -- Sberbank and Alfa Bank -- for what it called Kremlin's atrocities in Ukraine.
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, the White House said.
"We will document and share information on these atrocities and use all appropriate mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible. As one part of this effort, the United States is announcing devastating economic measures to ban new investment in Russia, and impose the most severe financial sanctions on Russia's largest bank and several of its most critical state-owned enterprises and on Russian government officials and their family members," it said.
These sweeping financial sanctions follow the action earlier this week to cut off Russia's frozen funds in the United States to make debt payments.
Importantly, these measures are designed to reinforce each other to generate intensifying impact over time, said the White House.
According to the White House, the US and more than 30 allies and partners across the world have levied the most impactful, coordinated, and wide-ranging economic restrictions in history.
Experts predict Russia's GDP will contract up to 15 per cent this year, wiping out the last fifteen years of economic gains. Inflation is already spiking above 15 per cent and forecast to accelerate higher, it said.
More than 600 private sector companies have already left the Russian market. Supply chains in Russia have been severely disrupted. Russia will very likely lose its status as a major economy, and it will continue a long descent into economic, financial, and technological isolation, it added.
The actions 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.
Sberbank holds nearly one-third of the overall Russian banking sector's assets and is systemically critical to the Russian economy. Alfa Bank is Russia's largest privately-owned financial institution and Russia's fourth largest financial institution overall.
Further, US President Joe Biden will sign a new Executive Order (E.O.) that includes a prohibition on new investment in Russia by US persons wherever located, which will further isolate Russia from the global economy. This action builds on the decision made by more than 600 multinational businesses to exit from Russia.
The exodus of the private sector includes manufacturers, energy companies, large retailers, financial institutions, as well as other service providers such as law and consulting firms, it said, adding that this will ensure the enduring weakening of the Russian Federation's global competitiveness.
A full blocking sanctions on critical major Russian state-owned enterprises. This will prohibit any US person from transacting with these entities and freeze any of their assets subject to US jurisdiction, thereby damaging the Kremlin's ability to use these entities it depends on to enable and fund its war in Ukraine. The Department of Treasury will announce these entities on Thursday.
In addition to Putin's adult children, Lavrov's wife and daughter, sanctions have also been imposed on members of Russia's Security Council including former prime ministers - Dmitry Medvedev and Mikhail Mishustin.
"These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people. Some of them are responsible for providing the support necessary to underpin Putin's war on Ukraine. This action cuts them off from the US financial system and freezes any assets they hold in the United States," the White House said.
"As we continue escalating our sanctions and other economic measures against Russia for its brutal war against Ukraine, we reiterate our commitment to exempting essential humanitarian and related activities that benefit the Russian people and people around the world: ensuring the availability of basic foodstuffs and agricultural commodities, safeguarding access to medicine and medical devices, and enabling telecommunications services to support the flow of information and access to the internet which provides outside perspectives to the Russian people," it said.
"These activities are not the target of our efforts, and US and Western companies can continue to operate in these sectors in Russia. When necessary, relevant departments and agencies will issue appropriate exemptions and carve outs to ensure such activity is not disrupted," it added.
Congressman Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, welcomed the decision.
"Banning investments in Russia and strengthening restrictions on Russia's financial system -- in coordination with our allies and partners -- is the right move. Putin's brutal war will not go unpunished," he said.
"Harsh economic measures will deepen his challenges at home and make it harder for him to continue his unlawful aggression. With these measures, members of Putin's own family and inner circle will also experience additional economic costs as a result of their complicity in his violence," Smith said.