New Western sanctions to target Russian 'political figures, oligarchs': US official

AFP , Wednesday 23 Mar 2022

A top US official said Wednesday that new sanctions will be announced against Russian "political figures" and wealthy elites close to President Vladimir Putin known as oligarchs.

Jake Sullivan
National security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Washington. AP

"We, the United States, will announce a package of sanctions designations tomorrow that relate both to political figures, (and) oligarchs... as well as entities," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.

President Joe Biden was headed to Brussels for NATO and EU summits to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sullivan said Western allies also were looking to "coordinate on sanctions enforcement so that Russian efforts to evade the sanctions can be dealt with effectively."

Washington has imposed severe penalties on Moscow as well as a range of Russian businesses and individuals since Putin sent troops into the neighboring country last month, and also banned imports of Russian oil.

The measures have crippled the banking sector and financial system precipitated a collapse of the ruble and prompted rating agencies to downgrade the country's debt and warn that Moscow could default.

Britain and the European Union also have sanctioned Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, but the United States has not followed suit.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Biden to hold off on targeting Abramovich, arguing that the Russian billionaire could play a role in negotiating a peace deal with Moscow.

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