Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters — Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova — are included in the latest round of sanctions on Russia the U.S. announced on Wednesday.
Before delivering unrelated remarks to the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference, President Joe Biden took to the bully pulpit to announce the new sanctions on Wednesday afternoon and to denounce the atrocities witnessed in Bucha, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv.
“Bodies left in streets as Russian troops withdraw. Some shot in the back of head with hands tied behind their backs. Civilians executed in cold blood. Bodies dumped into mass graves. A sense of brutality and humanity left for all the world to see unapologetically,” Biden said.
“There’s nothing less happening than major war crimes. Responsible nations have to come together to hold these perpetrators accountable. And together with our allies and our partners, we’re going to keep raising economic costs, and ratchet up the pain for Putin and further increased Russia’s economic isolation,” he continued.
The new round of sanctions includes a ban on all new investments in Russia, increased sanctions on two major financial institutions in Russia — Sberbank and Alfa-Bank — as well as on major Russian state-owned enterprises, and sanctions on Russian government officials and their family members — including Putin’s daughters.
“We, along with our European allies, are adding the names to the list of Russian elites and families we are sanctioning,” Biden added — but not calling out Putin’s daughters by name. “Look, these oligarchs and their family members are not allowed to hold on to their wealth in Europe or the United States and keep the yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, luxury vacation homes, while children in Ukraine are being killed, displaced from their homes every single day.”
According to the White House, the U.S. has sanctioned Putin’s two adult daughters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s wife and daughter, as well as the remaining members of Russia’s National Security Council that weren’t already hit with full blocking sanctions, including former president and Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
While Putin for years has closely guarded his daughters’ privacy, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday that Tikhonova is a tech executive whose work supports the Russian government and defense industry, while Vorontsova leads state-funded genetics research programs that Treasury says the Kremlin has given billions of dollars, with personal oversight by Putin.
A senior administration official said on an earlier call with reporters that the U.S. has reason to believe that Putin and his cronies hide their wealth with family members, and said, “We believe that many of Putin’s assets are hidden, with family members and that’s why we’re targeting them.”
“These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people. Some of them are responsible for providing the support necessary to underpin Putin’s war on Ukraine. This action cuts them off from the U.S. financial system and freezes any assets they hold in the United States,” the White House said in a fact sheet announcing the sanctions.
Since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in late February, the U.S. has sanctioned more than 140 oligarchs and their family members and more than 400 Russian government officials and has now fully blocked more than two-thirds of the Russian banking sector, which held about $1.4 trillion in assets before the war.
In conjunction with the G-7 and European Union, the U.S. also announced Wednesday it was cutting off Russia’s ability to use its previously frozen central bank funds to make debt payments — forcing it to find other sources of dollars to avoid defaulting.
In his remarks Wednesday, Biden also applauded corporate America for “stepping up for a change” and choosing to leave the Russian market on their own accord.
“Russia will very likely lose its status as a major economy, and it will continue a long descent into economic, financial, and technological isolation,” a senior administration official told reporters.
According to the White House, under the new sanctions, Russia’s GDP will contract up to 15% this year, wiping out the last 15 years of economic gains. Inflation, already spiking above 15%, is expected to rise, and supply chains will be further disrupted as more than 600 private sector companies have already left the Russian market.
“At this rate, it will go back to Soviet-style living standards from the 1980s,” the official added.
Asked if the U.S. was concerned about any downsides to detaching Russia from the global market to the point where it would become more concerned with disrupting it, rather than getting back in, the official seemingly brushed off the concern, saying that the U.S. was using a “negative feedback loop” to deter Putin, but that can be stopped if Putin also stops.
“None of this is permanent. The only aspect that’s permanent of the lives that he’s taken away, and he can never bring those back. But the sanctions, the sanctions are designed to be able to respond to the conditions on the ground, and to create leverage for the outcome we seek,” the official said.
The announcement follows Biden on Monday saying he was seeking further sanctions in response to apparent war crimes in Bucha — but as national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned this week, the White House acknowledges that further sanctions against Russia will not change Putin’s behavior overnight.
“Sanctions are intended to impose costs so Russia can’t carry on these grotesque acts without paying a severe price for it,” Sullivan said during Monday’s briefing.
“We don’t expect that that shift in behavior will be caused by sanctions overnight or in a week. It will take time to grind down the elements of Russian power within the Russian economy, to hit their industrial base hard, to hit the sources of revenue that have propped up this war and propped up the kleptocracy in Russia,” he added.
ABC News’ Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.
US targets Putin’s adult daughters in new round of Russia sanctions originally appeared on abcnews.go.com