WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Friday announced sanctions against Russia on over 500 targets to mark the second anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine, vowing sustained pressure to stop President Vladimir Putin’s “war machine.”

The sanctions, described as the largest single tranche since the start of the war, also seek to impose a cost for the death last week in a Siberian prison of Putin’s most vocal critic, Alexei Navalny — with measures taken against three officials.

But the sanctions stopped short of potentially game-changing moves under consideration such as funding Ukraine by seizing assets from Russia, whose economy has kept growing despite two years of pressure.

The new economic effort comes as Russia makes its first gains in months on the battlefield in Ukraine, which has been forced to ration ammunition as a political impasse in Washington blocks new US military aid.

Latest measures mark second anniversary of Ukraine invasion

The latest sanctions will notably target the Mir credit card system, set up by Russia to avoid reliance on US-based networks.

The Treasury Department also said it was targeting investment funds and regional banks to hit “Russia’s core financial infrastructure.” Other notable businesses include Russian transportation logistics company JSC SUEK, said to serve the Russian defense ministry, and specialty steel producer Mechel.

Others were in 3D printing, lubricants, as well as robotics and automation.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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