US Threatens to Expand Sanctions Against Russia, Says ‘Nowhere Near’ Lifting Restrictions
02:13 GMT 21.03.2022 (Updated: 02:14 GMT 21.03.2022)
© REUTERS / TOM BRENNERU.S. President Joe Biden speaks about assistance the U.S. government is providing to Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of the neighboring country, in the Eisenhower Office Building's South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 16, 2022.
© REUTERS / TOM BRENNER
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States could impose more sanctions on Russia and the White House is "nowhere near" lifting any of the restrictions, Daleep Singh, the deputy national security adviser for international economics, said.
"We can broaden our sanctions. So - take the measures, take the sanctions we've already applied, apply them in more targets. Apply them to more sectors," Singh said on Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes."
He specified that the areas that could be targeted include Russia's banking sector, as well as oil and gas.
"It's mostly about oil and gas, but there are other sectors too. I don't wanna specify them, but I think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would know what those are," Singh said.
Asked about what Putin could do so that the US lifts its sanctions, Singh said that it does not appear likely in the foreseeable future.
"Well, we're nowhere near that point. The first thing he has to do is to stop - a reckless and barbaric attack on the civilians of Ukraine. That's not happening," Singh said.
He projected that Russia’s economy "is gonna be half of its size that it was before" the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.
"And we take no pride in the suffering of the Russian people. This is Putin's war. These are Putin's sanctions. And this is Putin's hardship he's putting on the Russian people," Singh told CBS "60 Minutes."
20 March 2022, 03:57 GMT
Asked about whether the true purpose of sanctions is to force a change of power in Russia, Singh said that "our purpose, is to make sure that Putin's actions are remembered as a strategic failure." Nonetheless, he said that US officials are "not cowboys and cowgirls pressing buttons to destroy an economy," although the White House does want "to demonstrate resolve, that sanctions should have the power to impose overwhelming costs on your target."
Singh refused to give any details on how the White House could react if Beijing starts to actively support Moscow.
"We've been very clear with China about any support for this invasion and any help it may provide Russia in evading sanctions. And we've also made it clear what those consequences would be," he said, specifying that the details of the precise consequences are "gonna remain private."
In the early hours of February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) appealed for help in defending themselves against the Kiev forces. Russia said that the aim of its special operation is to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine and that only military infrastructure is being targeted. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it has no plans to occupy Ukraine. In response to Russia’s operation, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow, which includes airspace closures and restrictive measures targeting numerous Russian officials and entities, media, and financial institutions.