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Yellen says U.S. will address potential gaps in Russia sanctions -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks before a Senate Banking Committee hearing to examine the supervision of Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, and Capitol Hill. This hybrid hearing took place in Washington, U.S.A. on November 30, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Ph

By David Lawder

CHICAGO (Reuters). -The United States is going to address any gaps in harsh sanctions imposed by Russia after its invasion Ukraine. U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen announced Wednesday that the United States would do so, and added that they will “continue their bite.”

Yellen claimed that sanctions financial on Russia’s central bank, commercial banks, and wealthy members were having a major impact. This was evident in the sharp fall of the rouble.

After visiting Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, she stated that Russia is becoming an economically isolated country.

“We’ll continue to examine how sanctions are working and if there is any leakage and will address it as best we can.”

When asked if sanctions could be imposed on Russia to stop its oil and gas exports, she replied that “nothing’s off the table.” However, she added that America had not taken the necessary steps to protect Americans and Europeans from the “punishing consequences”.

Last Sunday’s and Monday’s sanctions have “immobilized” half the assets of the Russian central banking system, and have restricted access to 80% of Russian banks’ assets.

As the West sanctions continue to weigh on Russia’s finances, the rouble has seen its value plummet by about three-quarters since January.

Russia describes its actions against Ukraine as “special operations”, which are not intended to invade territory. It is meant to dismantle the military capabilities of its neighbour.

According to the former Chair of U.S. Federal Reserve, there was concern about Russian officials using crypto currencies to escape sanctions. But she pointed out that anti-money laundering laws were in place to keep this from happening.

She said, “That channel is worth watching.” “But … many participants in the cryptocurrency networks are subject to anti-money-laundering (laws) and sanctions. It’s also not impossible to evade this sector.

Yellen indicated that sanctions against Russia will not have a large impact on the US’ economic trajectory. She said this because of limited U.S. financial and trade connections with Russia. She said that the effects of sanctions on Russia will be felt most strongly through rising energy prices. Biden, however, stated that he was trying to ensure the United States is always stocked with oil.

The Treasury will continue to “go after oligarchs or Russian elites who are key to President Putin’s corrupt power,” she said.

“We have sanctioned many of these individuals over the last few weeks and we are assembling a task force with Justice Department colleagues and our allies to uncover, freeze, and seize their wealth around the world.”

Two sources close to the situation said Wednesday that Washington was preparing sanctions packages targeting Russian oligarchs and their assets.

Yellen also stated that stronger economic policies are needed in order to support America’s home economy, despite the fact that COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented economic recovery and U.S. economic growth which looks set to continue.

She called on Congress to approve key Biden economic investments proposals at the University of Chicago Innovation Center. These included funding for child care and universal preschool, as well as clean energy.