…As EU Say Russia Must Rebuild Ukraine
The United States is introducing punishments for banks with ties to Russia to ensure that they do not escape ongoing Western sanctions.
Head of the U.S. state department’s office of sanctions coordination, James O’Brien, was quoted by Reuters yesterday saying the Jo Biden administration is looking at additional banks and financial institutions to see how Russia deals with the outside world.
“It is very possible that there will be more action,” O’Brien told Reuters.
Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, the U.S. and the European Union sanctioned some of Russia’s biggest banks, froze billions of dollars worth of assets of the Russian central bank in Western countries, and cut much of Russia’s banking system from the global SWIFT system for payments.
However, Gazprombank, the bank of gas giant Gazprom, was spared from sanctions due to the handling of payments for energy imports into the EU. Some EU states, including Hungary and Italy, still receive Russian gas via pipeline.
The G7 and their EU allies are now considering a tenth package of sanctions, aiming to present it by February 24, the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Commenting on possible new measures from the West, the US official said. “We are now looking at how sanctions, including financial sanctions, can be most effective.”
“We are always looking to see which companies and parties could benefit from financial transactions linked to Russia,” he added.
Also yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the EU is looking to force banks to report the Russian assets frozen in the EU. The news agency actually said it saw draft proposals of the tenth package of sanctions it had seen.
The mandatory reporting of frozen Russian assets in the EU could be a step toward considering channeling some of the funds to Ukraine’s reconstruction.
Earlier this month European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Kyiv Russia will be made to pay for the damages it caused in Ukraine, and will have to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“Therefore, we are exploring with our partners how to use Russia’s public assets to the benefit of Ukraine,” she said
By Ken Okafor