The White House announced on Wednesday that the United States is introducing a new slate of sanctions on Russia. They include full blocking sanctions on two of Russia’s largest banks, Sberbank and Alfa Bank, as well as a number of state-owned enterprises that will be named on Thursday.
In addition, Washington is prohibiting new investment in Russia by Americans, both U.S. residents and those living abroad. The US is also imposing sanctions on the two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s Security Council including Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the White House announced.
"This year alone, just in one year, our sanctions are lucky to wipe out the last 15 years of Russia's economic gains," United States President Joe Biden stated. Biden also stressed the newly approved sanctions and their effects on "importing technologies like semiconductors and encryption, security and critical components of quantum technology."
Annual inflation in Russia accelerated to 14.53% as of March 18, its highest since November 2015 and is expected to rise. The central bank of Russia held its benchmark interest rate at 20% as expected during its March meeting and said the economy is entering the phase of a large-scale structural transformation, which will be accompanied by a temporary but inevitable period of increased inflation, that is expected to return to 4% in 2024
Biden and U.S. allies have worked together to levy a series of economic penalties against Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine more than a month ago, including the freezing of central bank assets, export controls and the seizing of property that belong to Russian elites.
The US Treasury is also prohibiting Russia from making debt payments with with dollars stockpiled at US banks.
State-owned Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, said in a statement the penalties won’t have a “significant impact on the bank's operations,” while Alfa Bank, the country's largest private bank, said it’s continuing normal business operations in Russia, though a spokesperson for the lender told Reuters it’s unclear what the impact will be on customers’ dollar holdings at the bank.