- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2022

The Biden administration says it will impose “swift and severe costs” on Russia for widely discredited referendums earlier this week that resulted in the claimed annexation of four Russian-occupied regions of eastern Ukraine.

New sanctions target Russian lawmakers and bankers, advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin and companies that feed Moscow’s military supply chains, the White House said.

Officials said their efforts are supported by fellow Group of Seven nations and should serve as a stark warning: “There will be costs for any individual, entity or country that provides political or economic support to Russia as a result of its illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory.”

The White House announced the new round of punishment Friday after Mr. Putin signed decrees that declared four regions in Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — as parts of Russia, hoping to give his invasion a legitimate sheen as the U.S., NATO and Western allies declared the move illegal.

“This is the will of millions of people,” Mr. Putin said. “This is their right, their inalienable right.”

He complained about the West treating Russia as a “colony” and past military ventures by the U.S., citing its use of nuclear weapons in World War II as setting a “precedent.”

SEE ALSO: Defiant Putin hails annexation of Ukrainian regions, says West wants Russia as ‘colony’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the Kremlin’s latest move, saying Kyiv remains determined to recover all of the regions now under Russian control.

“Everything will be Ukraine,” Mr. Zelenskyy posted on his Telegram channel Friday.

Mr. Biden, meanwhile, slammed Mr. Putin on Friday for the “sham routine he put on this morning” and said the U.S. will not be intimidated by his threats.

“The United States is never going to recognize this,” Mr. Biden said. “He can’t seize his neighbor’s territory and get away with it, it’s as simple as that.”

Mr. Biden said the U.S. will send an additional $13 billion to Ukraine, and NATO partners will defend every inch of the alliance’s territory.

“So Mr. Putin, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying — every inch,” Mr. Biden said.

He also said the U.S. will be involved in finding out what happened to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which appeared to be sabotaged this week. The West has accused Russia of halting critical gas flows to Europe as retaliation for sanctions.

The new sanctions came in direct response to Russia’s claims on Ukrainian territory.

“Every aspect of this process was pre-staged and falsified under orders from the Kremlin. The sham referenda were held at gunpoint,” said Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser.

The Treasury Department said Friday it is sanctioning 14 international suppliers for supporting Russia‘s military; immediate family members of senior Russian officials; and 278 members of Russia’s legislature.

Treasury officials also targeted Elvira Sakhipzadovna Nabiullina, governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) and a former adviser to Mr. Putin, and Olga Nikolaevna Skorobogatova, the first deputy governor of the CBR.

The State Department is imposing visa restrictions on Ochur-Suge Mongush for a “gross violation of human rights” against a Ukrainian prisoner of war, plus 910 other people, including members of the Russian Federation military, Belarusian military officials and Russia‘s “proxies violating Ukraine‘s sovereignty.”

The Commerce Department said it will apply export controls on third-party nations that attempt to supply the Russian and Belarusian militaries or backfill technologies and supplies that are prohibited by the United States and the 37 partner countries that imposed similar controls.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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