US sanctions Putin’s kids and Sberbank, bans investment

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Reuters

WASHINGTON: The US targeted Russian banks and elites with a new package of sanctions today that includes banning any American from investing in Russia, after Washington and Kyiv accused Moscow of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

The new sanctions will put full blocking sanctions on Russia’s Sberbank, which holds one-third of Russia’s total banking assets, and Alfabank, a senior US official told reporters.

Energy transactions are blocked from these sanctions, the official said.

The US is also sanctioning Russian president Vladimir Putin’s adult daughters, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s security council, the official said.

Americans are banned from investing in Russia, the official said, including through venture capital or mergers.

The US is “dramatically escalating” the financial shock on Russia by cutting off that country’s largest banks, the official said.

Russians may be forced back into Soviet-style living standards from the 1980s, the official said.

The US justice department today also announced new enforcement actions to disrupt and prosecute criminal Russian activity.

Grim images emerging from the Ukrainian city of Bucha include a mass grave and bodies of people shot at close range, prompting calls for tougher action against Moscow and an international investigation.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the killings were part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities.

Russia, which says it launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb 24, denies targeting civilians and said images of the deaths were a “monstrous forgery” staged by the west.

Neither provided evidence to support the assertions.

A senior French official said the European Union would also likely impose new sanctions today.