These measures represent a significant escalation of US sanctions, although the Treasury has said it will make an exception to ensure that transactions related to Russian energy exports continue. It issues a “general license” to allow certain energy-related transactions with the Central Bank of Russia.
The European Commission, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United States said on Saturday they would remove a number of Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system, effectively preventing them from conducting international transactions, and introduce new restrictions. The Russian Central Bank should stop them from using their huge international reserves to evade sanctions.
Russia has spent the past few years bolstering its defenses against sanctions and amassing $643 billion in foreign exchange reserves, in part through the transfer of oil and gas revenues. New restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies on selling the ruble to Russia are aimed at undermining the country’s ability to prop up its currency in the face of new sanctions against its financial sector.
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