U.S. to sanction over 300 Russian elites and block Russian central bank gold

The United States plans to sanction approximately 400 Russian individuals and entities, including more than 300 lawmakers from the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, and Russian elites, a senior Biden administration official said Thursday.

As Russia’s unprovoked and increasingly brutal invasion of Ukraine enters its second month Thursday, the G-7 group of major economies and the European Union will also announce new measures to crack down on Russian efforts to evade current sanctions, including those on its central bank.

The EU and G-7 will also inform international organizations that from this point forward, they are no longer to operate within Russia under “business as usual” standards, said the official, who requested anonymity in order to preview announcements that had not yet been made public.

“Our purpose here is to methodically remove the benefits and privileges Russia once enjoyed as a participant in the international economic order,” said the official.

President Joe Biden will announce the measures during a speech before NATO on Thursday, the first of three major addresses he will deliver during his day in Brussels.

Biden will also announce a new set of American efforts to aid the Ukrainian people, said the senior White House aide.

Chief among them, the United States is “prepared to provide more than $1 billion in new funding towards humanitarian assistance for those affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its severe impacts around the world,” said the official, without detailing how or when the money would be spent.

Biden will also announce a new commitment of funds to help protect global food security, which has been thrown into chaos by Russia’s invasion because both Moscow and Kyiv are some of the world’s largest exporters of grain.

Through the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, the Biden administration will provide $11 billion over the next five years to address threats to food security and prevent malnutrition, the official said.

The lion’s share of Ukraine’s grain exports currently go to Africa and Asia, and the American funds will be deployed to many of the countries where the population is especially vulnerable to a rise in food prices.

In addition to the funds, Biden will announce the launch of a new European Democratic Resilience Initiative with at least $320 million in new funding to support human rights and advance democratic principles in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

The EDRI will include a media component to fight disinformation, will protect activists and vulnerable groups, and fund efforts to counter corruption and kleptocracy, “strengthen democratic and anti-corruption institutions and the region’s rule of law, and support accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international law,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Source: CNBC

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