U.S., Britain, Canada, EU further sanction Russia as its economy reels

United States President Joe Biden (C) walks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) at the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 18, 2021. On Tuesday, their government separately announced sanctions against Russian officials over Moscow's war in Ukraine. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
1 of 4 | United States President Joe Biden (C) walks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) at the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 18, 2021. On Tuesday, their government separately announced sanctions against Russian officials over Moscow's war in Ukraine. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

March 15 (UPI) -- The United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union on Tuesday separately announced sanctions against Russia as the democratic nations seek to further cripple Moscow's economy in protest to its war in Ukraine that nears three weeks old.

The Western allies have repeatedly imposed punitive measures on Russia since its president, Vladimir Putin, launched an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with their impact already being felt.


The International Monetary Fund has forecast Russia to enter a deep recession, stating the sanctions have already caused Moscow's economy to contract, shrinking the public's incomes and spending power along with the depreciating ruble, Russia's currency.

But the Kremlin appears defiant to continue with its war with democratic nations responding by slapping further restraints on its economy.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department continued its targeting of Russian government officials, designating 11 individuals involved in Moscow's defense industry or related material sector.


"The United States and our partners and allies -- we are committed to imposing massive, severe costs on those involved in the invasion of Ukraine," Ned Price, the State Department's spokesman, said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Britain on Tuesday denied Russia and Belarus, which has been aiding Moscow's war, Most Favored Nation status for hundreds of their exports while adding tariffs to Russian imports all while depriving them benefits of World Trade Organization membership.

It also targeted hundreds of key Russian products, such as vodka, worth $1.17 billion to the Kremlin's economy with a 35 percentage point hike on top of current taxes.

British luxury goods were also banned for export to Russia, affecting high-end fashion, works of art and vehicles.

"The measures will cause maximum harm to Putin's war machine while minimizing the impact on UK businesses as G7 leaders unite to unleash a fresh wave of economic sanctions on Moscow," the British government said in a statement announcing the measures.

"The export ban will come into force shortly and will make sure oligarchs and other members of the elite, who have grown rich under President Putin's reign and support his illegal invasion, are deprived of access to luxury goods."


In Europe, the 27-member bloc adopted its fourth package of punitive measures against Russia, which also denies Moscow the Most Favored Nation status and bans the export of luxury European goods, such as cars and jewelry, to the embattled nation in an effort to target Moscow's elite.

Additional oligarchs and businessmen linked to the Kremlin as well as businesses active in the military were added to the EU's growing list of sanctioned persons and entities that already included more than 860 individuals and 53 entities.

The package also prohibits the importation of Russian steel, which the EU says will hit Moscow with a $3.6 billion revenue loss; a full prohibition on any transactions with certain Russian state-owned enterprises, specifically those involved in the Kremlin's military-industrial complex; and a wide-reaching ban on new investment in the Russian energy sector.

"These sanctions will further contribute to ramping up economic pressure on the Kremlin and cripple its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine," the European Commission said in a statement, adding that they were done in conjunction with international partners, including the United States.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen explained the sanctions will also suspend Russia's membership rights from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.


"We will ensure that Russia cannot obtain financing, loans or any other benefits from these institutions," she said. "Because Russia cannot grossly violate international law and, at the same time, expect to benefit from the privileges of being part of the international economic order."

In Canada, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly sanctioned 15 Russian officials accused of enabling and supporting Putins' invasion of Ukraine. Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Ottawa has sanctioned more than 900 individuals and entities including nearly 500 from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus since Feb. 24.

Russia has publicly attempted to brush off the sanctions, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stating last week following meetings with Ukraine and Turkey that the answer to this problem is "to no longer depend on our Western partners, be it governments or companies that are acting as tools of Western political aggression."

"We will make sure that we never again find ourselves in a similar situation," he said during a press conference.

Russia on Tuesday also responded with individual sanctions against members of the United States government, including President Joe Biden, and Canada.

Price responded during the press conference, stating that there is nothing reciprocal about the sanctions the United States and its allies have enforced against Russia's war, stating Moscow's economy is now in "a tailspin."


"It is an economy that is reeling," he said. "It is an economy that is suffering the worse setback, the worst couple weeks that it has had since the demise of the soviet union," he said. "Thirty years of economic integration have been undone over the span of two weeks."

Scenes from the rubble: Russian forces attack Ukraine capital, Kyiv

Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo

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