The U.S. and its European allies are preparing a set of ‘significant and severe’ sanctions in the event Russia does invade Ukraine, several media outlets including Politico reported on Dec. 6-7.
Amidst a buildup of nearly 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders and in occupied territories, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to talk via video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 7 in an attempt to de-escalate tensions.
Citing anonymous sources in the Biden administration, CNN reported that the U.S. is considering a new set of sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy.
Barring Russia from the SWIFT international payment system used by banks around the world is the most severe measure currently under consideration. According to CNN's sources, Russia is very reliant on SWIFT and it would be a heavy blow to its economy.
The Russian energy sector and Putin's inner circle are the main potential targets. Probable restrictions would be placed on oligarchs' ability to travel internationally and access U.S. banking and credit card systems.
On Dec. 3, Biden said he was working on making the Russian blitz “difficult” and will not accept the Kremlin’s “red lines” regarding Ukraine. Biden was referring to multiple messages from the Kremlin stating that Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be regarded as crossing “the red line,” to which Russia would respond by taking “active measures.”
It was earlier announced that Biden will consult with European partners before his Dec. 7 call with Putin and will brief President Volodymyr Zelensky after it is complete.
There were rising concerns that crucial talks were being held without involving Ukraine. However, Zelensky announced on Dec. 6 that he had spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and that the two sides had “agreed to act jointly and in coordination.”