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US to unveil ‘substantial’ sanctions package against Russia at G-7 summit in Hiroshima

OSAKA, Japan — The U.S. will unveil a “substantial” sanctions package against Russia on Friday at the Group of 7 (G-7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan, as the global meeting puts international support for Ukraine at the forefront of the agenda.

But the expected U.S. sanctions package will be announced in the shadow of the debt ceiling standoff between President Biden and Republicans in Congress, with a senior administration official saying GOP “brinkmanship” risks undermining the effectiveness of American financial penalties.  

“I do think that it’ll be an opportunity to highlight just how essential it is that the Republicans work to get this done expeditiously with the president because a lot is riding on ensuring that the United States continues to lead, and lead alongside the G-7,” the official said.

Sanctions being issued by the U.S. will include blacklisting 300 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft across Europe, the Middle East and Asia — the penalties aimed at targeting streams of Russian sanctions evasion.

The U.S. will also announce an expanded sanctions authority to target sectors of the Russian economy “key to its military-industrial complex,” the senior official said, “and impose new bans to prevent Russia from benefiting from our services.” 

And the U.S. will add roughly 70 entities from Russia and third-world countries to the Commerce Department’s blacklist, cutting them off from receiving U.S. exports.

The Commerce blacklist is an effort to target Moscow’s sanctions evasion strategies, with analysis highlighting Russia’s increase in imports of common electronics from third-world countries in an effort to access semiconductor chips blocked by the U.S. sanctions and those of partner countries.

“This is going to be a significant effort that will extensively restrict Russia’s access to goods that matter for its battlefield capabilities,” the official said. 

It’s not yet clear how member nations of the G-7 — the grouping of the world’s most advanced economies — will match the U.S. penalties, but the group is expected to put forth a joint statement in support of Ukraine that will stand apart from the traditional communique published at the end of such meetings. 

“All G-7 members are preparing to implement new sanctions and export controls. I won’t get into the specifics of what partners are doing but the United States will be rolling out a substantial package of our own,” a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing call late Thursday evening in Japan. 

Among the principles to be included in the Ukraine statement, the senior official said, will be a commitment by G-7 nations — U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom — “to squeeze Russia’s access to the international financial system” and “an ongoing commitment to keep precious sovereign assets immobilized until the end of the war.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also expected to participate in the summit in some form, with his appearance likely to be virtual.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday teased that the U.S. would announce a package of new sanctions to align with the summit. He said they would be centered on enforcement, like closing loopholes and shutting down Russian evasion networks.

The focus on Ukraine will be a major part of the summit but will take place alongside another priority focus of threats posed by the People’s Republic of China, as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to exercise influence globally and provide Russian President Vladimir Putin international legitimacy. 

Source: The Hill

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