New US Russia sanctions to target banks, weapons components - diplomat

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland attends a news conference in Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

By Jonathan Landay and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A senior U.S. diplomat said on Thursday the United States will impose "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of sanctions against Russia in a new package marking the second anniversary of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and responding to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said some of the sanctions would target those responsible for the killing of Navalny, but most will hit "Putin's war machine" and close gaps in existing sanctions regimes.

They also will target countries that help Russia evade sanctions it currently faces, and banks that allow that evasion.

President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Washington would announce a major package of sanctions against Russia on Friday, without giving details. Russia's invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24, 2022.

"We will have a crushing new package of sanctions, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them in the next couple days ... and some of them will be targeted at folks directly involved in Navalny's death," Nuland said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

She said the vast majority are designed to further weaken "(Russian President Vladimir) Putin's war machine to close gaps in the sanctions regime that he has been able to evade. But I anticipate that as time goes on, we will be able to put forward more and more sanctions," she said.

Nuland acknowledged that sanctions already in place have not stopped Russia's defense industry. "He (Putin) and his tricksters have found a lot of gaps," she said.

But she said the new sanctions would address that. "When you see this package in a couple of days, it is very heavily focused on evasion, on nodes and networks and countries that help evade - willingly or otherwise - and on the banks that support and allow that kind of evasion and some of the inputs for the weapons."

Nuland noted Russia's use of Iranian drones, that Moscow has an agreement with North Korea, and Moscow's growing economic integration with and dependence on China.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis)