Russia issues sanctions against Biden and a long list of US officials and political figures

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Russia issues sanctions against Biden and a long list of US officials and political figures

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According to a statement released Tuesday by the Russian foreign ministry, the government added the following people to an “arrest list”, preventing them from entering Russia: Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff gen. Mark Milley, Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh, USAID Director Samantha Power, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury Adewale Adeyemo and the president of the US Export-Import bank Reta Jo Lewis.

The “arrest list” also includes other non-governmental people, including the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and former US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The move is largely symbolic as it seems unlikely that members of Biden’s administration will travel to Russia as soon as the United States and its allies move to punish Putin and members of the Russian elite for invading Ukraine. Biden and his administration have ruled out potential meetings with Putin and questioned whether he is seriously interested in a diplomatic solution to the war.

The foreign ministry said the sanctions were a response to sanctions issued by the United States in recent weeks, which were part of broader Western tactics to counter Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

The declaration called the sanctions “an inevitable consequence of the extremely Russophobic course of the current US administration, which, in a desperate attempt to maintain American hegemony, has relied, discarding all decency, on the frontal coercion of Russia”.

The Russian government has suggested that further sanctions would follow, with the blacklist expected to expand to include “senior US officials, military officials, lawmakers, businessmen, pundits and media people who are Russophobic or help incite hatred. against Russia and the introduction of restrictive measures. “

The foreign ministry also reported in its statement that the Russian government “does not refuse to maintain official relations if they suit our national interests and, if necessary, we will solve the problems arising from the status of people who appear on the ‘black list’ in order to organize high-level contacts. ”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested the restrictions won’t have a big impact on their intended goals, telling reporters at Tuesday’s press conference: “It won’t surprise any of you that none of us are planning sightseeing trips to Russia. , none of us have bank accounts that we won’t be able to access, so we’ll move on. “

When asked whether the new sanctions signal an escalation by Russia, Psaki said the US is “confident” that US officials “will have the ability” to continue direct and indirect conversations with Russia.

The sanctions, the foreign ministry said in its statement, were implemented in coordination with other decisions “to protect the Russian economy and ensure its sustainable development”. Russia, meanwhile, is signaling that it may soon default on its debt.

Half of the country’s foreign reserves – about $ 315 billion – were frozen by Western sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said Sunday. As a result, Moscow will repay creditors of “hostile countries” in rubles until sanctions are lifted, he said.

Credit rating agencies would likely consider Russia to default if Moscow fails to pay or repay debt issued in dollars or euros with other currencies such as the Chinese ruble or yuan. A default could push the few remaining foreign investors out of Russia and further isolate the country’s ailing economy.

Default could come as early as Wednesday, when Moscow is due to deliver $ 117 million in interest payments on dollar-denominated government bonds, according to JPMorgan Chase.

Russia also sought economic and military aid from China, which remained particularly on the sidelines during the invasion of Ukraine, according to conversations CNN had with two US officials. But it is unclear whether China intends to help Russia, and both countries have denied that Russia made the request.

Russia also announced on Tuesday that it will ban Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand from entering the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted Tuesday.

The foreign ministry announced restrictions on Canadian officials shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky virtually addressed the Canadian parliament.

Russia’s actions come amid several new US sanctions against Russian leaders and its allied leaders. The United States has sanctioned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who allied with Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as a number of other Russians, including a judge for human rights violations, according to the Treasury Department of the United States. United States. In addition, the Biden administration has targeted 11 Russian military leaders, some of whom have been involved in cracking down on Russian protesters and dissent in occupied areas of Ukraine.

The United States in recent weeks has issued a series of sanctions against Russia, which included targets on Putin, his inner circle, Russian oligarchs, the Russian banking sector and technological development.

Kylie Atwood, Charles Riley, and Zachary B. Wolf of CNN contributed to this report.

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