The United States on Monday imposed new sanctions on Russia targeting the country’s Central Bank, a move that will prevent Americans from doing business with it and freeze any assets it holds in the United States.
In a statement on Monday, the Treasury Department said the decision would apply to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.
“The unprecedented action we are taking today will significantly limit Russia’s ability to use assets to finance its destabilizing activities and will target funds that Putin and his entourage depend on to enable his invasion of Ukraine,” he said. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement. declaration. “Today, in coordination with our partners and allies, we are delivering on key commitments to restrict Russia’s access to these valuable resources.”
Biden administration officials have said Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the European Union and others will join the United States in targeting Russia’s central bank.
The move follows the Western decision on Sunday to freeze its hard currency reserves to an unprecedented extent that could have devastating consequences for the country’s financial stability. It’s unclear exactly how much of Russia’s estimated $640 billion hard-currency coffers will be crippled by the decision, but European officials said at least half of it would be affected.
Russia’s Central Bank raised its key rate sharply from 9.5% to 20% on Monday in a desperate bid to prop up the ruble’s slide and stave off bank runs amid crippling sanctions.
Russians who fear the sanctions could deal a crippling blow to the economy have been flocking to banks and ATMs for days, with reports on social media of long queues and sold-out machines. People in some central European countries have also rushed to withdraw cash from branches of Russian state bank Sberbank after it was hit by international sanctions.
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