The Biden administration on Friday imposed what it called “swift and severe” sanctions on Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move earlier in the day to annex four territories of Ukraine.
The wide-ranging sanctions by the Treasury, State, and Commerce departments target more than 1,000 Russian people and companies, in retaliation for Putin’s annexation of the disputed regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia into the Russian Federation.
Putin’s Friday declaration marked the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two. The four regions represent some 15 percent of Ukrainian territory. Starting about a week ago, residents of those four Ukrainian regions held referendums, although U.S. and European Union officials claimed it was a sham.
The Treasury Department designated hundreds of members of Russia’s parliament, leaders of the country’s financial and military infrastructure, and suppliers, for sanctions designations that include asset freezes and bans business dealings with Americans.
In particular, it imposed sanctions on 14 people in Russia’s military-industrial complex, two leaders of the central bank, family members of top officials, and 278 members of the legislature “for enabling Russia’s sham referenda and attempt to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory.” Among those designated for U.S. sanctions were Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak; 109 State Duma members; the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and 169 of its members; and the governor of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina.
“We will not stand by as Putin fraudulently attempts to annex parts of Ukraine,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement Friday. “The Treasury Department and U.S. government are taking sweeping action today to further weaken Russia’s already degraded military industrial complex and undermine its ability to wage its illegal war.”
The Commerce Department added 57 companies located in Russia and the Crimea region of Ukraine to its list of export control violators.
The State Department added 910 people to its visa ban list, making them ineligible for travel to the United States. They include “members of the Russian Federation military, Belarusian military officials, and Russia’s proxies for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence.”
The latest U.S. sanctions come on top of sweeping measures the Biden administration and allies have already imposed against Russia since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
President Joe Biden told reporters that Putin can’t “get away with” seizing Ukrainian land. “America and its allies are not going to be intimidated by Putin and his reckless words and threats,” Biden added.
Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.