WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced on Friday it would follow in the steps of the European Union and the United Kingdom in directly sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Russian military invading Ukraine and threatening to take over the capital city of Kyiv.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the news at Friday’s press briefing, saying following a conversation with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the United States would join European allies in sanctioning Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and other members of the Russian national security team.
Psaki went on to add the sanction would include a travel ban.
The news comes less than 24 hours after President Joe Biden issued stronger sanctions against the Russians, including targeting Russian banks and high profile elites with close ties to Putin, along with freezing every asset Russia has in the U.S.
The sanctions seem to be doing little to keep Putin from pushing Russian forces farther into Ukraine with reports Russia may try to take over the capital city of Kyiv in 24-48 hours.
“This night will be very difficult, and the enemy will use all available forces to break the resistance of Ukrainians,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier Friday.
Biden spoke with Zelenskyy earlier Friday.
Sanctioning Putin is symbolic due to the fact the Russian leader hiding his wealth, making it extremely difficult to freeze his assets. Deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh was pressed by reporters about where Putin’s money is but he declined to give a concrete response.
“Not going to comment on that,” he said.
Psaki said sanctioning Putin would “send a clear message about the strength of the opposition to the actions by President Putin and the direction in his leadership of the Russian military.”
Putin and Lavrov are now a part of a growing list of elite Russian government officials the U.S. has sanctioned in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.