US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo outlined Tuesday’s sanctions announcement Wednesday morning, detailing the Biden administration’s three-pronged approach.
“The sanctions that we imposed were significant actions that had an impact on Russia in multiple ways,” Adeyemo said during a brief appearance on MSNBC.
US President Joe Biden on Tuesday laid out what he called a "first tranche" of US sanctions against Russia, including on two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites and their family members.
- On banks: “The banks that we went after one of them was critical to [Russia President] Vladimir Putin's ability to project power within Russia. It's money they use to pay the Kremlin used to pay for things within the country. The second bank was critical to their defense industry and their ability to project power outside of Russia. We've cut those banks off from the US financial system, and today their assets are frozen because of the actions that we took,” Adeyemo said.
- On individuals: “We cut off Russian elites. These elites are close to the Kremlin and close to Putin. And the reality is that Vladimir Putin gains a great deal of his wealth from taking money from these elites and from the Russian economy. So like cutting off these individuals and their children, we cut off the ability for Vladimir Putin to use their resources to further his lifestyle.”
- On debt: “The action we took to cut off sovereign debt means that over time, Russia's economy will be starved for the resources they need to project power within the region and around the world.”
Echoing Biden’s remarks yesterday, Adeyemo acknowledged that there will be some costs to Americans, including at the gas pump.
“What the President has told us is to take actions that will severely impact the Russian economy and to mitigate the impact on the US and Europe, which we have which we have done, but there will be costs and our goal will be to make sure that we mitigate those costs over time,” he said.
Pressed about oligarchs who may have funds spread out across multiple countries, Adeyemo said that the strategy included going after those close to them, including their children.
“One of the things we did yesterday was in addition to going after the named individuals, we went after their children. And our goal will be as we continue, is to make sure that we target the individuals around them to ensure that the money they're sending to places like London and New York through those individuals can no longer flow and we constrict the ability of this money to flow back to President Putin,” he said.