The United States has banned Putin’s daughters and several Russian banks

The towers of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin are shaded against the sunset on August 12, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. REUTERS / Evgenia Novozhenina / File Photo

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WASHINGTON, April 6 (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions targeting Russia’s banks and elites, including banning Americans from investing in Russia in response to President Joe Biden’s condemnation of Russian “atrocities” in Ukraine.

New sanctions hit Russia’s Sberbank (SBER.MM)U.S. officials say it owns one-third of Russia’s total bank assets and the country’s fourth-largest financial institution, Alfabank. But officials said energy transactions have been exempted from recent measures.

The United States has approved the two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and members of Russia’s Security Council.

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“I made it clear that Russia will pay a heavy and immediate price for its atrocities in Pucha,” Biden said in a message on Twitter, referring to the city recaptured by Russian forces, where civilians were shot at close range.

“Today, along with our allies and partners, we are announcing a new round of catastrophic sanctions,” Biden said.

Russia, which claims to have launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, has refused to target civilians and said the images of the deaths were “outrageous fakes” staged by the West.

The state-run Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, and Alfabank will not be significantly affected by the new sanctions. read more

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The White House said in a statement that Biden was signing an administrative order “including a ban on new investments in Russia by US individuals who would further isolate Russia from the world economy.” This includes a ban on venture capital and connections, officials said.

A senior executive told reporters that the United States was “dramatically increasing” the financial shock on Russia by cutting off the country’s largest banks as part of a package coordinated with allies.

“The truth is, the country is descending into economic and financial and technological isolation,” the official said. “At this rate, it’s going back to the Soviet – style standard of living from the 1980s.”

On Wednesday, the US Justice Department accused the Russian oligarchy of violating the sanctions imposed on Konstantin Malofeev after Russia’s occupation of Ukraine.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said authorities had disrupted a global malicious computer network called the “botnet” controlled by Russian military intelligence.

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As the United States seeks to increase pressure on Putin, the White House imposes full sanctions on so-called “important Russian state-owned enterprises” that could undermine the Kremlin’s ability to finance its war efforts.

The U.S. Treasury Department will name the companies Thursday, the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. government has taken action amid mounting allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The gruesome images emanating from Pucha include a mass grave and the bodies of those shot at close range, calling for drastic action against Moscow and an international investigation. read more

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the killings were part of a deliberate Russian campaign to commit atrocities.

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Neither Blingano nor Russia provided evidence to support the claims.

A senior French official said the European Union was likely to impose new sanctions on Wednesday.

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Report by Matt Spetalnick, Alex Alper, Nandita Bose; Editing by Heather Timmons, Howard Collar, Mark Porter and Jonathan Otis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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