WSJ Learns About US Targets With Sanctions Enforcement Effort

U.S. Authorities Plan to Target Foreign Banks and Cryptocurrency Platforms Russia May Use

The Joe Biden administration intends to step up Russia sanctions enforcement and target foreign banks and crypto platforms that Moscow could use, writes The Wall Street Journal quoting unnamed White House officials.

The interlocutors of the newspaper say that after the imposition of sanctions, the next task— to block Russia's routes that provide imports and income from it. To do this, you need to target banks and cryptocurrency platforms. Washington also intends to continue identifying the accounts and assets of Russian “oligarchs” and punish foreign companies caught exporting sanctioned goods to Russia.

Since the end of February, the US, EU and other Western countries have imposed several packages of sanctions against Russia due to a special operation in Ukraine. They affected the financial sector, including the Central Bank and the largest banks, a wide range of exports and imports, major Russian businessmen and their assets in the West, top managers, officials, public figures and journalists.

The Russian authorities have repeatedly called the sanctions illegal and affecting those who impose them. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov noted that American restrictive measures would destabilize the global economy, which had already suffered during the pandemic. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the economic and energy policies of the West led to an increase in prices for agro-industrial products and hydrocarbons.

Already after the introduction of sanctions, the US authorities promised to block the possibility for Russia to circumvent restrictive measures. Thus, the US Treasury issued a special guide to eliminating “loopholes” to circumvent sanctions and prepared answers to frequently asked questions about restrictive measures.

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Strengthening control over compliance with sanctions is also planned in the European Union. The Wall Street Journal indicated that Brussels is considering measures to close loopholes to circumvent sanctions and improve data exchange between EU countries.

A number of countries did not support sanctions against Russia, in particular China, India and Turkey. Washington said that potential assistance to Moscow to circumvent sanctions would be “highly costly” Beijing. At the same time, criticism and irritation from the European Union is caused by the growth of trade and the expansion of cooperation between Moscow and Ankara, the Financial Times wrote. The EU saw the risk of secondary sanctions against Turkey and thought about calling on European businesses to stop working in this country.

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