The US, UK and EU’s sanctions against Russia, explained

The US, UK and EU’s sanctions against Russia, explained
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, February 22, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

The backstory:

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine (a former Soviet state) back in 2014, which caused it to be kicked out of the international military alliance, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Today, there are an estimated 100,000 troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border, worrying people that Russia is looking to invade again, eight years after the first invasion.
  • Russia denies it intends to invade and says that the troops have been positioned there for self-defense. Meanwhile, they’ve sent some demands to the West, including banning Ukraine from ever entering NATO.
  • The United States responded by writing to Russia, saying that they wouldn’t ban Ukraine but would find ways to work with Russia where appropriate.
  • On Monday, in a televised address, Russian President Putin recognized two Russian-backed separatist regions in Ukraine and then ordered the Russian army into the area to “keep the peace.”
  • Putin described the country as an essential part of Russia’s history and added that he was confident that the Russian public would support his decision.
  • Since Russia’s move into Ukraine, the US, the United Kingdom and the European Union have all announced new sanctions against the country.

In the US:

  • Russia will no longer be able to access Western financing in the US, meaning new debt cannot be traded on US or EU markets.
  • No US person or business will be allowed to invest in the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions – collectively known as Donbas.
  • There will be sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt, the country’s “elites and their family members” and VEB.RF and its military bank, Promsvyazbank, neither of which will likely be much affected. VEB has already seen sanctions before, and Promsvyazbank was created to help Russia’s defense industry amid sanctions from the West.

In the UK:

  • Five Russian banks have been sanctioned, one of which was Rossiya, which has been already facing sanctions for years.
  • Three Russian oligarchs had their assets frozen.

In the EU:

  • The over 360 Russian lawmakers involved in either proposing or voting to recognize Donbas as independent will be sanctioned.
  • The Russian banks that finance the operations of Donbas, VEB.RF, Bank Rossiya and Promsvyazbank, are also being targeted.
  • The EU will restrict the Russian government’s access to EU capital and financial markets and services.
  • There will be sanctions on trade from Donbas.

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