US Reportedly Plans to Target Russian Industries, Not Citizens With New Ukraine-Related Sanctions
© AFP 2023 / SAMUEL CORUMThe U.S. Capitol Building is seen past the Washington Monument as people walk around the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall as the sun sets on November 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden returned to Washington after spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with family in Nantucket and immediately met with members of his medical team to discuss the newly discovered Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
© AFP 2023 / SAMUEL CORUM
The White House has threatened to give a joint response with its European partners if Russia invades Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied harbouring any plans for an invasion.
The US is not planning to hit ordinary Russians if it imposes new sanctions against Russia in the event of an attack on Ukraine, National Security Council member Peter Harrell said during a speech at the Massachusetts Export Center. He explained that the planned response is designed to target Russian industries in the middle and long-term instead.
"We can't preview every action, but the intent there really is to have measures that we think will degrade Russia's industrial capabilities and industrial production capacity over time, not to go after individual, everyday Russian consumer", Harrell said.
He elaborated that the plan was to immediately impose "crippling financial costs on major Russian financial institutions" and introduce "sweeping export controls" that would impede the country's "industrial capacity".
Another White House official, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Thea Kendler, expanded on Harrell's comments, Reuters reported. Kendler said that the planned sanctions response in the event of an invasion of Ukraine would target "key people and industries" that were spared during the American sanctions spree of 2014.
Kendler added that the goal of the new sanctions would be to prompt "capital flight, to trigger inflation, to make the Russian central bank provide bailouts to its banks".
Neither of the officials specified which Russian industries would be targeted by the White House. However, Reuters cited unnamed officials as naming the aviation, maritime, robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and defence industries as potential targets. The oil and gas sectors were also not ruled out as potential targets, according to Reuters' sources.
The anonymous officials also shared with Reuters that Washington might appeal to Taiwan and South Korea to limit the sale of certain wares based on US technologies, such as microchips, to Russia. The US has similarly been blocking the sale of chips and technologies to China's Huawei since the Trump administration.
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The two officials' remarks come in contrast to earlier media reports that the US might ban the sale of all double-use technologies to Russia, which could in practice prohibit the sale of sophisticated wares such as smartphones and other digital devices, punishing Russian citizens.
Western countries have been threatening Russia with sanctions over the past two months, citing Moscow's alleged decision to deploy a significant amount of troops close to Ukraine's border. The US and several other countries have alleged that Russia might be planning an invasion of Ukraine despite Moscow strongly denying having such plans.