New U.S. Sanctions Hit Putin’s Family Members

Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova. Photograph: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

The US has announced fresh sanctions targeting two daughters of Vladimir Putin, as well as Russia’s biggest public and private banks, as part of a common western effort to starve Vladimir Putin’s war machine of funds.

The sanctions targeting Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, two adult daughters of Putin’s with his former wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva, were announced by the White House as the UK announced further economic sanctions and restrictions on eight oligarchs, while the EU wrangled over banning Russian coal.

Western sanctions on Russia over its nearly six-week invasion of its neighbour gained new impetus this week after bodies of civilians shot at close range were discovered in the town of Bucha, after a retreat by Russian forces.

The US said “full blocking” sanctions would also be imposed on the wife and daughter of the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and members of Russia’s security council, including the former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people,” the administration said. “Some of them are responsible for providing the support necessary to underpin Putin’s war on Ukraine. This action cuts them off from the US financial system and freezes any assets they hold in the United States.”

“We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden with family members, and that’s why we’re targeting them,” a senior US official told reporters, referring to Putin’s two daughters.

The US president, Joe Biden, directly linked the new measures to the killing of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, tweeting that he had “made clear that Russia would pay a severe and immediate price for its atrocities” there. On the ground on Wednesday Russia continued to launch heavy shelling on targets in the east, and Ukrainian authorities urged civilians to leave “while the opportunity still exists” before a massive Russian military assault that it expects in the coming days.

Biden will sign an executive order that includes a ban on new investment in Russia by Americans from any location, intended to further isolate Russia from the global economy. The White House also declared “full blocking” sanctions on Russia’s largest public and private financial institutions, Sberbank and Alfa Bank, and said all new US investment in Russia was now prohibited.

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