WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday said it would impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following similar statements from the United Kingdom and the European Union following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the travel ban would be part of the sanctions.
After a series of measures, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Russian television, “We have reached the beginning of the road of no return.”
In addition to the measures already announced, the United States has taken new measures, including a series of sanctions on four Russian banks, cutting off more than half of Russia’s technology imports and targeting several of the country’s oligarchs.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also announced on Twitter Friday that sanctions would be imposed on Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, the EU’s sanctions package — the second passed this week as Russia’s military builds up into a full-scale offensive — was approved by leaders at an overnight summit.
It hit Russia’s financial, energy and transport sectors and restricted the ability of Russians to store large amounts of cash in EU banks.
It also expands the number of Russians on the EU s list of sanctioned individuals barred from entry and whose EU assets are blocked.
Following suit, Britain s Treasury issued a financial sanctions notice against Putin and Lavrov, adding them to a list of Russian oligarchs who have already had their property and bank accounts in Britain frozen.
In addition to the sanctions, Psaki said that any moves by Russia “going after” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who alongside key aides has vowed to stay and defend Kyiv, would be a “horrific act.”
Putin has called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow the government whose leaders he describes as “terrorists” and “a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis.”
Putin and Lavrov join a list of U.S. sanctions that include Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Syrian President Bashar al-Assa Germany.