(UnitedVoice.com) – Congress failed to pass additional aid for Ukraine before leaving Washington, DC, for a three-week break. Though that left President Joe Biden with no room to do anything legislatively for the time being, he did sign a new executive order (EO) aimed at Russia.
On December 22, Biden signed the new order taking aim at Russia’s attempts to rearm itself in the midst of its war with Ukraine. The EO allows the Treasury Department to import more sanctions on Russia by targeting financial institutions that have indirectly helped the nation build its war arsenal. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military has lost more than 13,000 pieces of equipment during the nearly two-year-long war. That includes missile systems, tanks, and drones.
Defense spending in Russia rose by almost 75% in the first half of 2023. The latest EO targets an avenue that has allowed Russia to have access to large financial institutions by going through smaller financial institutions to buy more war equipment. For example, the US has prohibited the importation of Russian diamonds directly. However, it has allowed Russia to send the diamonds to third-party countries for processing, and then they are imported into the US from that other nation. Now, Russian diamonds shipped from third-party countries are banned as well.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo wrote an op-ed for the Financial Times on December 22. He said the new EO is incredibly important at this stage of the conflict. He explained that the US is “raising the stakes for banks” that support trade with Putin’s country and compared it to “pouring sand into the gears of Russia’s military logistics.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the new EO sends “an unmistakable message” to the world that “anyone supporting [Putin’s] unlawful war effort is at risk of losing access” to America’s financial system. That could be a devastating blow to smaller companies and financial institutions.
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