US to impose ‘crushing’ sanctions on Russia 2 years after Ukraine invasion, officials say

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The U.S. on Friday will impose more than 500 sanctions on Russia, its enablers, and its war machine as the world marks two years since Russia attacked Ukraine, a Treasury Department spokesperson said.

This would be the largest single tranche since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion, administration officials said.

The sanctions, to be rolled out by the Treasury Department and State Department, will include additional measures intended to punish the Kremlin for its role in the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, officials said.

Following a meeting on Thursday with Navalny’s widow and daughter in San Francisco, President Joe Biden previewed the action, saying his administration would be “announcing sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death, tomorrow.”

President Joe Biden meets with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya on Feb. 22, 2022.

@POTUS/X

Earlier Thursday, a high-level State Department official described the pending sanctions as “crushing.”

“Some of them will be targeted at folks directly involved in Navalany’s death. The vast majority of them though are designed to further attrite Putin’s war machine — to close the gaps in the sanctions regime that he has been able to evade,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said speaking at an event in Washington.

Officials familiar with the plans say many of the measures will take aim at Russia’s defense sector, including a number of entities already sanctioned by the U.S.

PHOTO: An aerial view taken on April 12, 2022, shows the city of Mariupol, during Russia's military invasion launched on Ukraine.

An aerial view taken on April 12, 2022, shows the city of Mariupol, during Russia’s military invasion launched on Ukraine.

Andrey Borodulin/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Those imposed as punishment for Navalny’s death in a remote Russian prisoner are expected to target individuals thought to have played a part in his detention and demise, officials added.

Throughout Russia’s war on Ukraine, the U.S. has sought to weaken Moscow’s military by targeting its economy — limiting its ability to import key technology to fuel its defense-industrial complex, reduce the value of its exports, and cut Russia off from the international banking system.

Despite the historic effort, Russia’s economy has grown over the last two years due in part to the country’s steady trade with partners like China and India. The Kremlin has also managed to keep its arsenals stocked, resorting to sourcing some weapons from Iran and North Korea — two countries that are also heavily sanctioned by the West.

“[Vladimir Putin] and his tricksters have found a lot of ways to evade sanctions,” Nuland conceded. “That is why when you see this package that we’re going to launch in a couple days, it is very heavily focused on evasion, on nodes and networks and countries that help evade — willingly or otherwise — and on the banks that support and allow that kind of evasion.”

Nuland also predicted the administration would also impose additional penalties tied to Navalny’s death in the future.

“I anticipate as time goes on we will be able to put forward more and more sanctions on folks directly responsible for Navalny’s death,” she said.

The U.K. announced its own sanctions against six Russian officials on Wednesday.

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