What sanctions hasn’t the US imposed on Russia … yet?

Russia At War

(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden announced the second raft of sanctions on Thursday to punish Russia for what he called “a premeditated attack” on Ukraine.

As Putin escalates his country’s full-scale invasion, what is left on the table for Biden to raise the stakes on penalties and make Moscow change course?

Biden, for now, has held off imposing some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe, or Russia’s energy sector.

Biden cited concerns of European allies for holding off on this decision.

Leaders of Germany, with its numerous business ties to Russia, had publicly expressed skepticism about banning SWIFT.

Biden defended this decision Thurday, saying his banking sanctions will hit Russia even harder than a SWIFT ban.

“It is always an option, but right now that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take,” he said.

“The sanctions we imposed exceed SWIFT. The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done. The sanctions we imposed have generated two-thirds of the world joining us,” Biden said. “They are profound sanctions. Let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made clear the U.S. could still levy some punishments that it’s currently holding in reserve.

The Biden administration has stressed the care it is taking to minimize the impact of sanctions on its allies. Germany and others are heavily dependent on Russian shipments of oil and gas.

Biden said the sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine were tailored not to disrupt the global oil and natural gas markets at a time when petroleum supply and high prices are making it tough for governments and consumers around the world.

Biden’s administration is under political pressure at home over rising oil and gas prices.

“Our sanctions package is specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue,” Biden said Thursday.

And what about sanctions against Putin himself? The host of sanctions announced thus far by the United States have also spared the man at the center of the Ukraine attack.

U.S. and European officials didn’t immediately explain their reasoning, according to the Associated Press.

Biden has expressed reluctance to sanction heads of state in the past. Concern that targeting Putin’s wealth and family directly might cut off all hope of diplomatic resolution also may have played a part.

Britain came close and announced Thursday it would also sanction several Russian oligarchs and elites, including Putin’s former son-in-law Kirill Shamalov.

When asked by reporters on Thursday to explain why Putin has not been sanctioned directly, Biden did not answer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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