The United States, United Kingdom, and some European Union countries announced significant sanctions against Russia this afternoon, promising more to follow.

The United States: President Joe Biden announced what he’s calling the “first tranche” of sanctions. Biden said in a statement, “As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs, for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that. But as we do this, I’m going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours.” He detailed the sanctions as such:

  • “We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: VEB and their military bank.”
  • “We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”
  • “We’ll also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.”

The United Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson similarly announced the “first barrage” of sanctions from the UK. Five banks had their assets frozen as well as three Russian billionaires, who also face travel bans. “We will continue to seek a diplomatic solution until the last possible moment,” Johnson said. “But we have to face the possibility that none of our messages has been heeded and that Putin is implacably determined to go further in subjugating and tormenting Ukraine.”

Germany: Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Germany suspended certification of the Nordic Stream 2 gas pipeline. “This may sound technical, but it is the necessary administrative step without which the pipeline cannot be certified,” Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin at midday. “Without this certification Nord Stream 2 cannot go into operation”. Stocks fell and oil increased to nearly $100 a barrel upon the announcement.

The European Union: The EU Commission proposed sanctions for its member states. The proposals would sanction 27 persons and entities including political figures, propagandists, military personnel and financial entities who the EU deems to be linked to “illegal activities” in the regions. There would also be sanctions for the 351 Russian lawmakers who voted for the recognition and the 11 who proposed it – and the installation of Russian troops. Member states will now debate and vote on the proposals.

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