If Russia invades Ukraine, there is no shortage of sanctions options

Washington (Associated Press)-If President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, the Biden administration has many options to honor its commitment to attack Russia economically, from sanctions against Putin’s colleagues to cutting off Russia’s ties with the financial system , Allowing funds to flow around the world.

U.S. and European allies have not publicly mentioned any plans for their own military response If Putin sends troops assembled along the border into Ukraine, A former Soviet republic with close historical and cultural ties with Russia, but now eager to ally with NATO and the West.

On the contrary, the return may be all about money.

This week, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken promised to bring about economic pain-“The economic measures with significant impact that we have been avoiding in the past.” President Joe Biden said on Friday that the United States has formulated “the most comprehensive and most comprehensive A series of meaningful measures made Mr Putin very, very difficult.”

In the past decade, the United States has imposed a series of sanctions on Russian entities and individuals, many of which were due to Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its support for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The US sanctions also try to punish Russia for its interference in elections, malicious network activities, and human rights violations.

Since 2014, the West has also helped Ukraine build an army. Therefore, although Putin denied any intention to launch an offensive, his troops will face a more capable Ukrainian army.

Sanctions currently imposed on Russians include asset freezes, prohibitions on doing business with American companies, and refusal to enter the United States. But in seeking to punish Russia, the West has been considering larger economic penalties for many years.

This includes the so-called nuclear option: preventing Russia from using the SWIFT financial payment system in Belgium, which transfers funds between thousands of banks around the world.

The European Parliament approved a non-binding resolution this year, calling for this step to be taken when Russia does invade Ukraine.

Maria Shagina, an expert on sanctions and energy politics at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said that when the United States successfully pressured SWIFT to disconnect from the Iranian bank due to Iran’s nuclear program, the country almost lost Half of oil export revenue and one third of foreign trade. Think tank.

Shagina wrote that the impact on the Russian economy would be “just as devastating.” More than a third of Russia’s federal revenue depends on oil and gas exports, and it relies on SWIFT for the movement of petrodollars.

Since 2014, Russia has been working to protect its domestic financial system from this cut-off. The interruption of SWIFT will also cause indirect pain to Western economies.

Former US ambassador to Ukraine and professional diplomat John Herbst said on Friday that he believes “although SWIFT will not be excluded, it will be the last resort.”

Earlier this year, the Biden administration further restricted Russia’s borrowing capacity by prohibiting US financial institutions from directly purchasing Russian government bonds from state agencies. But the sanctions did not target the secondary market, which may be the next step.

Herbst pointed to other possible tools and targets: financial sanctions against people close to Putin and their families; and more sanctions against Russian banks and Russia’s important energy sector.

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