Skip to main content

The United States imposed fresh economic sanctions Friday on more than 300 Russian businesspeople, politicians and their families over Moscow’s declaration that it’s annexing parts of Ukraine captured during the ongoing war.

“We will not stand by as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin fraudulently attempts to annex parts of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in announcing the new penalties. “The Treasury Department and U.S. government are taking sweeping action today to further weaken Russia’s already degraded military industrial complex and undermine its ability to wage its illegal war.”

The moves come after Moscow recently held referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine and claimed that people there overwhelmingly voted to join their territories to Russia. However, Western nations have decried the voting as a “sham,” with reports that soldiers went house to house in some cases to secure non-secret ballots.

Putin’s government has said that it will consider the annexed territories to be integral parts of Russia that it will defend with all of Moscow’s military might – an apparent veiled threat to potentially use nuclear weapons.

Washington imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian movers and shakers, including Russian central-bank chief Elvira Nabiullina, her First Deputy Olga Skorobogatova and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak. Washington also sanctioned all 300+ members of Russia’s upper and lower legislative houses that didn’t already fall under previous U.S. prohibitions.

Additionally, Friday’s action imposed restrictions on Russian and non-Russian companies that the United States accuses of helping Moscow acquire Western military technology. Lastly, the measures hit family members of Russia’s already-sanctioned defense minister and other top officials, as Washington claims some Russians use family members to avoid American business restraints.

The sanctions freeze targeted companies’ and individuals’ U.S. assets and prohibit anyone in the United States from buying their assets or giving them any money or other items of value.

Additionally, the U.S. Commerce Department added 57 Russian entities that it accuses of helping Moscow acquire military technology to a list of firms that need special licenses to export certain items from America.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department initiated the imposition of visa restrictions on more than 900 military officials from Russia and its ally Belarus, along with what Washington called Russian “proxies” in occupied Ukrainian territories. The move will prohibit the individuals from entering the United States.

Still, the sanctions didn’t appear to have any immediate impact on U.S. markets. The S&P 500 (SP500)(SPY) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP.IND) were up slightly for the day shortly before 1 p.m. ET and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)(DIA) was a bit lower, but the indices moved little or not at all based on Friday’s announcement.

After all, Russian ADRs and Russian-themed U.S. ETFs have generally not traded on U.S. exchanges since the war began, with some even moving toward delisting.

Crude oil likewise appeared to move little or not at all on the news despite Russia’s large energy exports. Oil (CL1:COM)(USO) was changing hands on the New York Mercantile Exchange 1.3% lower at $80.14, little changed from where it had been before the sanctions news. Natural gas (NG1:COM)(UNG) was up 0.6% at $6.91 – again, little changed by the news.

That said, the Russian ruble did pull back sharply on the announcement, hitting 60.11 to the U.S. dollar shortly before 1 p.m. ET. That’s 12.9% below the three-month high of 53.2 that the currency touched earlier in the day.

For more economic news and analysis, click here.

Read the original article

Leave a Reply