U.S. official: U.S., allies to ban new investments in Russia

The U.S. and its European allies will impose stiff new sanctions, a U.S. official says, in retaliation for Russia’s “war crimes” in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden speaks to the press on April 4, 2022.

President Joe Biden speaks to the media at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Monday, April 4, 2022, as he returns to Washington and the White House after spending the weekend in Wilmington, Del. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The United States, in coordination with the EU and Group of 7 nations, will roll out new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday — including an investment freeze — in response to evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, according to a senior administration official.

Among the measures being taken against Russia are a ban on all new investment in that country, greater sanctions on its financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, and sanctions on government officials and their family members. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss the forthcoming announcement.

President Joe Biden and U.S. allies have worked together to levy a crippling of economic penalties against Russia for invading Ukraine more than a month ago, including the freezing of central bank assets, export controls and the seizing of property, including yachts, that belong to Russia’s wealthy elite. But calls for increased sanctions intensified this week in response to the attacks, killings and destruction in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

The official said the sanctions would further Russia’s economic, financial and technological “isolation” from the rest of the world as a penalty for its attacks on civilians in Ukraine. That isolation is a key aspect of the U.S. strategy, which is premised on the idea that Russia will ultimately lack the resources and equipment to keep fighting a prolonged war in Ukraine.

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An increasingly desperate Russia has engaged in military tactics that have outraged much of the wider global community, leading to charges that is committing war crimes and causing other sanctions. Still, almost all of the EU has refrained from an outright ban on Russian oil, natural gas and coal that would likely crush the Russian economy.

On Monday, President Joe Biden called for his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to be tried for war crimes because of the atrocities and abuses seen around Kyiv after Russian forces pulled back from the Ukrainian capital. The corpses of what appeared to be civilians were seen strewn in yards, many of them likely killed at close range.

Biden said Monday that the U.S. and its allies would gather details for a war crimes trial, stressing that Putin has been “brutal” and his actions “outrageous.”

Associated Press journalists saw dozens of bodies in Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv. There were at least 13 bodies in and around a building that local people said Russian troops used as a base. Three other bodies were found in a stairwell, and a group of six were burned together.

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Many victims seen by AP appeared to have been shot at close range. Some were shot in the head. At least two had their hands tied. A bag of spilled groceries lay near one victim.

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