Moscow has hit back against Washington by sanctioning top US leadership, including President Joe Biden himself. The punitive retaliation measures extend to the chiefs of the Pentagon, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director William Burns. Russian state media announced in a Tuesday statement:
“Russia on Tuesday sanctioned US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and ten other administration officials and political figures. Moscow has said that the sanctions are a reciprocal measure, imposed after Washington blacklisted top Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin.”
Despite the measures being largely symbolic – as it will be essentially impossible for Moscow to actually go after US officials’ assets unless they are held in Russia itself (and certainly no top American official is looking to travel to Russia anytime soon) – it signals that tensions with the West are ratcheting fast, with increasingly few off-ramps as the two sides chart a war-footing course.
According to breaking details in Bloomberg:
- Sanctions would block entry to Russia, freeze any assets there
- “We aren’t refusing to maintain official ties if they correspond to our national interests,” ministry says, adding sanctions would not impede high-level contacts if needed
“The list of sanctioned individuals includes 13 people, including US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, CIA Director William Burns and Son of US President Hunter Biden,” it’s being reported.
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Here is a snapshot of the latest market-moving news out of Ukraine from the last few hours, courtesy of Newsquawk:
- Ukrainian President Zelensky said negotiations with Russia will continue on Tuesday.
- Ukrainian presidential adviser said Russia’s territorial claims are unacceptable and Ukraine is ready to continue negotiations on remaining issues, while the adviser added that a peace agreement could be signed within 1-2 weeks at the earliest and May at the latest, according to CCTV.
- Ukrainian President’s office confirms that the Czech, Polish and Slovenian PMs are to visit Kyiv on Tuesday.
- Russian Kremlin says that work is continuing between the Russian and Ukraine delegations, does not wish to predict the outcome of talks but it is positive that talks are continuing.
- US State Department said the US added 11 members of Russia’s Defense Enterprise to the anti-Moscow sanctions list, according to Sputnik.
- Japan imposed sanctions on an additional 17 Russians
- Equinor (EQNR NO) is to stop trading in Russian oil and oil products, while it will not enter any new trades or engage in the transport of oil and oil products from Russia, but noted will receive oil cargoes in March as part of pre-invasion commitments.
- US Treasury official said Russian sovereign bond default would make it difficult for Russia to find future lenders, increase Moscow’s borrowing costs and drain resources, while the official sees limited exposure in the US financial system to Russian sovereign bonds and noted that falling prices of Russian sovereign bonds suggests investors see a high probability of default and are preparing for alternative payment outcomes.
- Yamal-Europe pipeline has suspended flows, via Reuters citing Gascade data; preliminary bids for eastward flows to Poland have emerged; subsequently, gas flows via the Yamal pipeline have reversed and flow eastwards to Poland from Germany, according to Gascade data.
- US President Biden said they will make sure Ukraine has weapons to defend against the invading Russian force, while they will send money and food and aid to save Ukrainian lives.
- Ukrainian air force claimed that a Russian drone crossed into Poland before returning to Ukraine and was shot down by air defences.
- UK Ministry of Defence said it hadn’t seen evidence to support Russian accusations of Ukraine intending to use chemical and biological weapons, while it added that Russia could be planning to use such weapons in a false-flag operation.
- ELINT News reported loud explosions in downtown Kyiv, which could be missile strikes.
- Russian forces have taken full control of Kherson, Ukraine, according to Sputnik citing the MoD.
- Ukraine Presidential adviser says Russian forces are not trying to take Kyiv at the moment; additionally,
- Mykolayiv Governor says the situation in the region is calmer as Russian forces have been pushed back slightly from the regional capital.
- Ukraine authorities have issued a country-wide air raid warning
- CNBC’s Kayla Tausche tweeted that NATO leaders are discussing holding an extraordinary meeting in Brussels late next week which US President Biden and other heads of state would attend, according to officials, but added it is not yet final.
- Majority of US GOP Senators vowed to not support a new nuclear deal with Iran, according to Sputnik.
- Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says an agreement on the revival of the Iranian Nuclear deal is on the finishing straight. Meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister in Moscow
- North Korea could conduct a nuclear test before or after the May 10th inauguration day for the incoming South Korean President, according to DongA.
- Pakistan’s Foreign Minister rejects the statement from the Indian Defence Minister on the “mistaken missile launch”, stating that it is “incomplete”.