The Biden administration announced Friday that it will move to freeze the assets of President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the European Union and Britain directly sanctioning top Russian leadership.
The Treasury Department announced the sanctions shortly after the EU said it had also approved an asset freeze against Putin and Lavrov as part of a broader package of sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told NATO leaders during a call Friday that Britain would move to impose sanctions against Putin and Lavrov.
Friday's U.S. measures block Putin and Lavrov, whom the Treasury Department's formal announcement of the sanctions described as Putin's “chief propagandist," from access to any assets within reach of U.S. officials, and bar anyone in the United States from doing business with them. Members of Russia's security council also were sanctioned.
It wasn’t immediately clear how impactful an asset freeze would be on Putin or Lavrov, but the direct action targeting the Russian president was meant to be seen as a warning to Putin that he could emerge as an international pariah if he doesn’t end the invasion of Ukraine.
“Following a telephone conversation that President Biden held with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and in alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.
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