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Biden imposes sanctions on 500 targets linked to Russia’s ‘war machine’

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US President Joe Biden announced the imposition of sanctions on over 500 targets in Russia, marking the second anniversary of the Ukraine invasion on Friday.

The move underscores a commitment to exert sustained pressure aimed at halting President Vladimir Putin’s perceived aggression, which Biden referred to as a “war machine.”

According to the Treasury Department, these sanctions represent the largest single tranche deployed since the onset of the conflict. They are primarily intended to respond to the recent death of Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of Putin who died in prison. Biden emphasized that the punitive measures would target individuals associated with Navalny’s incarceration, as well as key sectors such as Russia’s financial and defense industries, procurement networks, and entities evading existing sanctions.

In a statement, Biden asserted that these actions would ensure Putin faces heightened consequences for both his international belligerence and domestic repression. Additionally, new export restrictions will be imposed on nearly 100 entities suspected of providing indirect support to Russia’s military activities.

Despite previous measures by the US and its allies, including asset freezes and technology export restrictions, military assistance to Ukraine has stalled due to political gridlock in Congress. Russia has capitalized on this impasse, achieving significant battlefield victories. Nevertheless, the Russian economy is projected to experience moderate growth, bolstered by trade partnerships outside the Western sphere, notably with China.

In collaboration with the Group of Seven, the European Union, and Australia, plans have been announced to strengthen enforcement of a $60 per barrel cap on Russian crude oil sales. Biden’s administration has held Putin accountable for Navalny’s demise, with the president personally meeting with Navalny’s widow and daughter during a private encounter in California.

Several European nations have lodged diplomatic protests against Russia, while Britain has imposed sanctions on officials linked to the prison where Navalny died. The White House has indicated forthcoming sanctions against Iran for its purported support of Russia’s military actions. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned of additional measures if Iran were to supply ballistic missiles to Russia.

Biden reiterated a call for Congress to authorize new military aid to Ukraine, a plea met with resistance from some quarters. Notably, House Speaker Mike Johnson has refrained from advancing aid proposals, drawing criticism from Biden and others. Recent developments, such as the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka due to ammunition shortages, underscore the urgency of bolstering support for Ukraine in the face of Russian advances.

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