Western sanctions target Russia
February 25, 2022 - The U.S. and allies have imposed heavy sanctions on all 10 of Russia’s largest financial institutions, as well as export control measures that will more than halve Russia’s high-tech imports.
U.S. President Joe Biden has significantly ratcheted up pressure on Russia’s economy by cutting off the country’s biggest bank, Sberbank, from the U.S. financial system.
The bank holds around one-third of Russia’s banking sector assets. Sberbank’s value on the London Stock Exchange plummeted 72 per cent on Thursday (February 24, 2022).
Russia’s rouble also plunged to a record low against the U.S. dollar, while the leading ruble-denominated benchmark of the Russian stock market -- the Moex index -- fell by 33 per cent.
The sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine restrict Sberbank’s access to U.S. dollar transactions. The U.S. also froze assets at four other Russian banks, including its second-biggest lender, VTB, and three others, Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank OJSC and Novikombank.
Sberbank and the four other financial institutions that the U.S. sanctioned oversee about $1 trillion in assets in total.
“The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done,” the U.S. president said on Thursday. “The sanctions we imposed have generated two-thirds of the world joining us. They are profound sanctions.”
European Union foreign ministers will outline sanctions on Russia at an emergency session starting at 14:00 GMT on Friday. E.U. leaders’ held a summit overnight, agreeing in principle that the bloc is joining the United States and others in taking steps such as curbing Russia’s access to technologies.