The Kremlin on Wednesday slammed President Biden’s threat to impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin personally, saying such actions would not harm him but could exacerbate the crisis over Ukraine.
Personal sanctions would be “not painful, [but] politically destructive,” Kremlin spokesperson Dimtry Peskov told reporters, according to Reuters.
Mr. Peskov added that individual sanctions against Mr. Putin and other Kremlin figures would only damage diplomatic relations between Russia and the U.S. He also mocked the idea of imposing personal sanctions against Russia’s top political leaders, saying they were legally prohibited from holding overseas assets, property and bank accounts, Reuters reported.
Mr. Biden on Tuesday said the U.S. could sanction Mr. Putin personally if Russia invades Ukraine.
“There will be enormous consequences if he were to invade, as he could, the entire country,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “Not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences but there will be enormous consequences worldwide.”
“If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world,” Mr. Biden said.
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Republicans have urged Mr. Biden to target Russia’s upper echelon with sanctions which would include Mr. Putin’s inner circle of family, friends, and military and civilian leaders. The U.S. could also sanction Russia’s powerful business oligarchs and its banks.
Such sanctions could also include a woman reported to Mr. Putin’s romantic interest, Alina Kabaeva, who won Olympic gold in 2004 in rhythmic gymnastics.
The Biden administration earlier this week threatened to use a novel export control to deprive Russian industries of key technologies, including artificial intelligence and quantum computing. If applied more broadly, the move could also be expanded to limit Russian citizens’ access to smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the sanctions talk was accelerating because the U.S. and its allies were caught up in a state of “militaristic frenzy.”
“That’s the only thing they are talking about,” said the veteran diplomat, who insisted Russia could handle whatever punishments were meted out.
“We are ready for any developments,” he said.
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