Washington reportedly targets Russian president on Ukraine after push from London
The United States is considering personally sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin for military operation in Ukraine, CNN reported Friday citing unnamed sources within the Biden administration. The EU and UK had sanctioned Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier in the day.
Putin was not among the targets of the sweeping sanctions that US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday over what he called a “invasion” from Ukraine. He said the sanctions were intended to cause a long-term impact to cripple the Russian economy. However, Biden added that the option to personally blacklist the Russian president still stands. “on the table.”
Putin’s addition to the sanctions list will be announced on Friday, two people familiar with the decision told CNN, adding that other Russian officials are “likely” to target as well.
The UK announced sanctions against Putin and Lavrov personally on Friday evening. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the EU and US to also ban Russia from the SWIFT banking network in order to “inflict maximum pain on President Putin and his regime”.
Several EU countries have rejected SWIFT sanctions because it would prevent them from buying energy from Russia and also hurt their exports. Biden insisted that the sanctions he imposed were “stronger” than a SWIFT ban.
The first US sanctions against Russia came on Tuesday after Putin recognized the independence of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which then requested military aid from Moscow.
Russian troops entered Ukraine on Thursday morning, with Putin insisting the mission was necessary to “demilitarize and denazify” the “diet” in Kyiv. Ukraine says it had no plan for large-scale attack on Donbas republics and called for offensive “without provocation”.
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