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The United States imposed sanctions on public debt, officials and banks of Russia: all meetings between politicians of the two countries are canceled

One of the worst security crises in Europe in recent decades deepened when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered soldiers to enter the "DNR" and "LNR" to "keep the peace." Europe and the United States responded with sanctions, reports to Reuters.

Photo: Shutterstock

The United States and Britain imposed new sanctions on Russia on February 22 and announced their plans to target banks and the elite, while Germany suspended a major gas pipeline project from Russia.

According to the US company Maxar, satellite images over the past 24 hours show several new transfers of troops and equipment in western Russia and more than 100 vehicles at a small airfield in southern Belarus, which borders Ukraine.

Weeks of tense diplomacy have so far failed, and on February 22 US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian canceled separate meetings scheduled with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is taking a big chunk out of Ukraine,” Biden said on February 22. “This is the beginning of the Russian invasion.”

Biden's announced plans to support Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania include sending 800 infantry and up to eight F-35 fighters to locations along NATO's eastern flank, a US official said, but this is a reallocation, not an addition.

On the subject: Growing ambitions or tyranny: Putin invited the West to recognize Crimea as Russian, and Kiev to abandon NATO

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian news outlets, Putin did not watch Biden's speech, and Russia will first consider what the United States has outlined before responding.

On February 23, early in the morning, Putin said that he was always open to finding diplomatic solutions, but that "Russia's interests and the security of our citizens come first for us."

Moscow is calling for security guarantees, including a promise that Ukraine will never join NATO, while the US and its allies are offering confidence-building and arms control steps to Putin to defuse the standoff.

Will there be more sanctions?

According to Biden, US sanctions apply to the VEB bank and the Russian military bank Promsvyazbank, which handles defense deals. Since February 22, sanctions against Russian elites and members of their families began to operate.

The TASS news agency, citing Promsvyazbank, said the sanctions would not have a significant effect as it had taken precautionary measures in advance. Details are not reported.

The United States also expanded sanctions against Russian government debt, banning American financial institutions from any transactions with loans issued after March 1, reports RBC.

The Russian Ministry of Finance has announced the measures it will take in connection with the introduction of US sanctions against Russian government debt.

“In order to help strengthen stability in the Russian debt market, decisions on the need to hold OFZ auctions in the coming weeks will be made taking into account market conditions. At the same time, a significant amount of temporarily free funds in the single treasury account (more than 4,5 trillion rubles with a net borrowing of 2022 trillion rubles planned for 2,2) allows for a flexible approach to the placement schedule, ”the ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry of Finance noted that the resumption of OFZ placement "as the volatility of financial markets decreases" may be accompanied by "an increase in the share of instruments with a lower level of interest rate risk."

“In order to reduce the risk of forced sales of tradable government securities by certain categories of foreign investors, the placement of government bonds after February 22, 2022 will be carried out through the issuance of new issues of securities with the termination of additional placements of OFZs, issues of which were registered earlier than the specified date,” the statement says. Ministry of Finance.

Russia will give a strong response to US sanctions, according to the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry, reports RBC. The reaction will not necessarily be symmetrical, but "calculated and sensitive for the American side," the department explained.

“The package of sanctions measures announced by the US Administration (already the 101st in a row) affecting the financial sector with the expansion of the list of persons against whom personal restrictions are introduced, is in line with Washington’s ongoing attempts to change the course of Russia,” the message says.

At the same time, Moscow has already proved that, despite all the sanctions, it is able to minimize the damage. “And even more so, sanctions pressure is not able to affect our determination to firmly defend our interests,” they stressed.

But many Western countries have refrained from imposing the most severe sanctions in an attempt to prevent a larger Russian offensive. Russia's Sberbank (SBER.MM) and VTB (VTBR.MM) will face sanctions if Moscow continues its invasion, a senior US official said, warning of a blow to the broader economy.

“We are fully prepared, along with a very large number of countries around the world, to take … export control measures,” he said.

The European Union and the UK have mainly targeted Russian banks and their ability to operate internationally, with the impact likely to have been minimal.

Lavrov has previously shrugged off the threat of sanctions.

“Our European, American, British colleagues will not stop and will not calm down until they have exhausted all their possibilities for the so-called punishment of Russia,” he said.

Markets worry, separatists celebrate

The prospect of energy supply disruptions and fear of war, fueled by reports of shelling in some areas and the movement of unmarked tanks overnight in Donetsk, rocked markets and sent oil prices to their highest levels since 2014.

Germany is Russia's largest natural gas buyer and Chancellor Olaf Scholz's decision to have the pipeline built but awaiting approval was seen as one of the most drastic measures Europe could take.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the move.

“This is the morally, politically and practically the right move under the current conditions,” he said. “Real leadership means making tough decisions in difficult times. Germany's actions prove it."

The Kremlin said it hopes the delay is temporary. Putin said that Russia "strives to continue uninterrupted supplies" of energy to the world.

After Russia recognized the independence of the “DNR” and “LNR”, some residents of Donetsk celebrated this event by presenting cars with Russian flags and sounding a horn.

But at midnight, several explosions sounded in the center of the separatist-held city, according to a witness.

“I know that the blood that I shed with my comrades, our labors and efforts, the loss of civilians all this time were not in vain,” Dmitry, a former member of the pro-Russian militia, said in Donetsk on February 22.

Cancellation of appointments

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, scheduled for February 24, will not take place, reports InterFax.

On February 21, Biden and Putin agreed to participate in a summit to discuss “security and stability in Europe” about a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and deterring Russia from invading. Blinken and Lavrov were supposed to prepare the summit during their meeting on February 24th.

“Last week, I agreed to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week, February 24, to discuss our countries' concerns about European security, but only if Russia does not invade Ukraine. Now we see that the invasion is starting and Russia has shown a denial of diplomacy, there is no point in this meeting now,” Blinken said at a briefing following talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington on February 22.

According to him, all allies and partners agreed with this, a corresponding letter was sent to Lavrov.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced its readiness for negotiations between Lavrov and Blinken.

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“Even in the most difficult moments, we have always said that we are ready for the negotiation process. Therefore, from our side, the position remains the same, we are ready for the negotiation process. We always advocate the use of diplomacy,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

US President Joe Biden does not plan to attend a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports Ukrainian Truth.

“Diplomacy cannot be successful unless Russia changes course. And, as he said (Blinken - Ed.), it would be inappropriate for him to hold a meeting now with his colleague, Foreign Minister Lavrov. And it was always assumed that after that there would be some kind of interaction with President Putin. So this is definitely not in the plans,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

When asked what actions the United States should see from Russia to hold the meeting, Psaki said “de-escalation”.
She noted that Blinken's decision to cancel the meeting with Lavrov does not mean an end to the diplomatic approach.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

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