Biden Administration Announces ‘Unprecedented’ Sanctions against Russia 

In response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, President Biden today announced an additional round of economic sanctions, including those against two additional large Russian financial institutions, Sberbank and VTB Bank.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said that within 30 days, the Office of Foreign Assets Control will require all U.S. banks “to close any Sberbank correspondent or payable-through accounts and to reject any future transactions involving Sberbank or its foreign financial institution subsidiaries. Payments that Sberbank attempts to process in U.S. dollars for its clients—with examples ranging from to technology to transportation—will be disrupted and rejected once the payment hits a U.S. financial institution.”

OFAC will also impose full blocking sanctions on VTB Bank—a systemically important institution that holds nearly 20% of all banking assets in Russia—and will immediately freeze all assets held in U.S. financial institutions. The sanctions also extend to 20 VTB Bank subsidiaries. Additionally, OFAC will block three additional Russian banks—Otkritie, Novikom and Sovcom—from accessing the U.S. financial system. Treasury also announced additional debt and equity prohibitions against 13 other state and private-owned firms operating in the financial services sector, as well as a series of actions targeting several Russian families with close ties to President Putin.

Separately, OFAC also sanctioned 24 Belarusian individuals and entities for their support for and facilitation of the Russian invasion.