The United States is working with allies to increase economic sanctions against Russia due to Russia’s “fake referendums” in occupied areas of Ukraine. That’s according to the US State Department’s Head of Sanctions Coordination on Wednesday.
James O’Brien said in a statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Washington is targeting bottlenecks in the Russian economy and military supply chains. More packages will come. “We are working on more sanctions,” O’Brien told the committee. According to O’Brien, among other things, the financial sector and advanced technology are considered, including in the field of energy exploitation.
Russia was on the verge of annexing part of Ukraine on Wednesday. Voting results were released in referendums that will show support for joining Russia in four partially occupied provinces. Kyiv and the West dismissed the referendums as illegal mock referendums, in which voters were held at gunpoint.
Russia-backed authorities claim to have held referendums within five days in territories that make up about 15 percent of Ukraine.
The United States imposed several sanctions on Moscow after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, which left cities in ruins and thousands dead and injured. Washington and its G7 partners have said they will cap Russian oil prices, but are reluctant to engage with major Russian energy companies directly.
O’Brien warned that it was time for India, which buys large amounts of Russian oil, to reconsider its geopolitical position. He also said Washington will continue to work with China to ensure the country understands US sanctions and their impact on China’s relations with Russia.
Earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Russia should be subjected to harsh sanctions. On the table is a cap on oil prices, more restrictions on imports of Russian products and a new EU export ban on goods that Moscow can use militarily.
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