Canada

US and allies plan more sanctions on Russia in “coming days”

By Andrea Schalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and its allies will impose new sanctions and export controls in the “coming days” to increase pressure on Russia to end its war in Ukraine and crack down on companies and individuals helping Moscow to circumvent sanctions, Deputy Das Finance Minister Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday.

Adeyemo said the United States, the European Union and others would target Russia’s purchases of dual-use items like refrigerators and microwave ovens to secure the semiconductors the military needs. The sanctions would also aim to curb the handling of oil and other restricted goods by neighboring countries, he said, without giving details.

In addition, he said coalition officials from more than 30 countries would warn companies, financial institutions and individuals still doing business with Russia that they could face sanctions if they continued to do so.

“The breadth of this coalition will allow us to continue isolating Russia,” Adeyemo said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Tuesday, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion on Friday.

“We will force those who don’t implement our sanctions and export controls to choose between their economic ties to our coalition of countries – which represent more than half of world GDP – or material support from Russia, an economy that is increasingly isolated will be day.”

The goal, Adeyemo said, is to further increase costs for Russia by circumventing sanctions and trying to circumvent an oil price cap imposed by the Group of Seven Rich Nations and Australia by creating its own alternative ecosystem for oil sales .

Russia has already been forced to divert billions of dollars from the war to pay for insurance on oil tankers, shipping and other services, and Washington will look for “additional ways to drive up those costs,” he said, without elaborating to respond to it.

Echoing comments made in an interview with Reuters last week, Adeyemo said US and allied officials would warn companies and financial institutions in their own countries — and India and China — against circumventing sanctions against Russia.

‘INVESTMENTS IN UKRAINE’

Speaking at the CFR event, Adeyemo said Washington has seen limited support for Russia from China, adding that he believes Chinese companies in general are interested in staying connected with the global economy and continuing to do business with the to do west.

US and allied officials are also providing countries, including some of Russia’s neighbors, with “actionable” intelligence to help them stamp out sanctions evasion. If they didn’t act, he said, “we and our partners stand ready to use the various economic tools at our disposal to act ourselves.”

US and coalition officials would warn companies and banks in those countries that unless they enforce sanctions, they would be cut off from Western markets and financial systems.

After the event, Adeyemo told Reuters the United States still hopes for a quick solution to Russia’s war in Ukraine but is ready to provide long-term support to Ukraine. It is important to continue supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty to make it clear that Russia’s invasion is unacceptable.

“We’re doing both – trying to do everything in our power to end the war immediately, but also making investments in Ukraine over time so people know we’re going to stay for the long-term,” he said.

Adeyemo acknowledged that Russia’s economic data looked better than expected early in the war, but said the Russian economy was shrinking and becoming increasingly isolated.

“A year into this conflict, the economy of Russia looks more like that of Iran and Venezuela than that of any member of the[Group of 20 major economies],” he said.

Adeyemo said Washington was concerned about the deepening of Russia-China ties but noted that Beijing could not supply Moscow with the advanced semiconductors it needed to replace military equipment lost since the war began.

Asked about reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming months, Adeyemo said he hopes Xi will urge Putin to end the war given the impact on energy and food costs for China and China’s declared respect for sovereignty.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ross Colvin, Simon Cameron-Moore and Paul Simao)

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