US, UK and EU face Putin and Lavrov personally with sanctions

The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union are imposing sanctions against Russian President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov. So far, sanctions against Russia have mainly focused on Putin‘s entourage, because such personal sanctions would stand in the way of diplomacy.

Putin and Lavrov bank balances in the US, UK and EU are frozen. โ€œAfter Lukashenko of Belarus and Assad of Syria, Putin is the third head of government against whom EU sanctions have been issued,โ€ said EU foreign chief Borrell in announcing the criminal measures.

Part of the US sanctions is an entry ban for Putin and Lavrov, says White House spokesman Psaki. The precise details of such an entry ban are still being announced. The EU is not yet setting travel restrictions. Putin and Lavrov remain welcome in the EU so as not to get in the way of any diplomatic talks.

According to Borrell, Russia will become increasingly isolated due to the sanctions and the country can expect enormous inflation. The EU will come up with a third package of criminal measures if violence continues in Ukraine, warns Borrell. According to him, it now seems that Russia wants to replace President Zelensky’s Ukrainian government with a Russian-minded regime.

Bank balances frozen

The criminal measures are also directed against Russian banks, energy companies and the aviation industry. The export of some high-tech products is being curtailed. The funds of a series of Russian government officials on banks in the EU are also frozen.

For the time being, there is no majority to deprive Russia of access to the international payment system Swift. The European finance ministers have already asked the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission to investigate the consequences of such a move.

Some Member States are reluctant to hit Russia through Swift, because it also suffers European business. It is also difficult for citizens to transfer money to, for example, family in Russia.