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Russia Faces Many Sanctions Following Invasion of Ukraine

Russia Faces Many Sanctions Following Invasion of Ukraine
People looking at the damaged building following a rocket attack on the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, February 25, 2022. | Image by Emilio Morenatti, AP Photo

The United States is imposing economic sanctions to punish Russia for the recent attacks and invasion of Ukraine. The European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia, and Japan are all following suit and placing sanctions of their own on Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian forces moved within 20 miles of Kyiv the morning of February 25 as day two of the invasion of Ukraine took place. As of 1 p.m. on February 25, a total of 137 people (including civilians) had been killed in Russian military strikes, according to USA Today.

Thomasz Grzywaczewski is a Polish reporter and was in the Donbas region of Ukraine. This city is where Russia started to invade Ukraine on February 24 and where Russian separatists have been fighting since 2014.

Grzywaczewski told CBS News that the Russian military has targeted Ukraine Soldiers and civilians. He gave an interview onboard a train headed to Poland with Ukrainians.

“I talked with refugees from occupied territories who told me Donbas is like hell on earth,” Grzywaczewski said. “They told me they prefer to leave than live under Russian occupation. The situation is really hard.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has declared martial law and urged citizens to remain calm. Zelenskyy gave an emotional address to his nation on February 25.

“Sadly, today we lost 137 heroes, our citizens,” he said. “Ten of them were officers. Three hundred sixteen people have been wounded. Defending the Zmiinyi Island, all our border guards died a heroic death. But they have not surrendered. They will all be awarded posthumously by the title of the Hero of Ukraine.”

Despite the president’s words, some Ukrainians are fleeing the country for safety. Traffic was at a standstill as long lines of cars filled and clogged the streets, CBS News reports.

Halyna Yanchenko, Ukrainian deputy head of parliament majority, told CBS News the situation in Kyiv is dire.

“People are horrified on one hand, but on the other hand, they are ready to protect their land,” she said. “We are here standing on our land in our country, sovereign country‚Ķ But overall, the situation is very difficult. You cannot imagine. Today I woke up at 5 a.m. because of explosions. I heard an explosion, and it was a chilling attempt to bomb Kyiv.”

As a result of the sanctions by the U.S. and other countries, the Russian stock market has lost nearly 50% of its value the past week, and many of these sanctions have not taken effect yet, the Globe & Mail reports.

“We are imposing further severe sanctions,” U.S. President Biden said. “He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands.”

The U.S. announced it would halt its high-tech exports to Russia, including the computer chips critical to Russia’s military and aerospace industry.

However, President Biden did not impose sanctions on all of Putin’s assets. To the disappointment of some lawmakers, he did not move to block Russia from SWIFT, a global payment system crucial to international trade.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany said on February 24 that Russia should not yet be cut off from the SWIFT because it is “very important” to keep such drastic measures “for a situation where it may be necessary.” Italy is said to have objected and feel maintaining SWIFT will give leverage over Putin, Fortune reports.

“Block Russia from SWIFT,” Yanchenko said on CBS News. “It will help. [Putin] is killing and ruining lives, not only Ukrainians, murdering Ukrainians literally, but he is also ruining the lives in his country of his citizens, and his citizens should tell him. I would beg that American politicians block Russia from SWIFT now. Please save the Ukrainian men, women, and children.”

President Biden said some European allies who rely on Russia for oil and gas aren’t ready to take that step.

“The sanctions we’ve imposed exceed SWIFT,” Biden said. “The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done. Let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working.”

Biden is set to hold a virtual summit with NATO leaders on February 25, discussing the security situation in and around Ukraine.

In addition to the U.S. sanctions on two financial institutions earlier this week, the U.S. and its allies will block the assets of four of Russia’s largest banks and impose sanctions on Russian elites and enact new export controls. Belarus’ defense and security industries and 24 Belarusian individuals and entities were targeted in the latest measures for the country’s role in the attack on Ukraine.

According to President Biden, the new economic measures will “limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen to participate in the global economy.”

The president also announced that the United States would send more military assets to Germany to help strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. Following President Biden’s comments, the Pentagon dispatched 7,000 troops to Europe.

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