U.S. President Joe Biden announced a wave of sanctions against Russia aimed at hurting its economy in response to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.
In a move that promises to “hold Russia accountable” for the invasion, the economic sanctions will target Russian exports of vodka, seafood and other goods, including diamonds.
The move, which has received approval from the U.S. Congress, will also enable Biden to suspend normal trading status with Russia and revoke its most favoured nation status in coordination with European countries, Australia and Canada.
Speaking on Friday, Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a “severe price” if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, but he did not elaborate on what that response might be.
“Putin is an aggressor, he is the aggressor. And Putin must pay the price,” said Biden.
“President Biden announces the US, in coordination with the G7 & EU, is revoking PNTR (permanent normal trade relations, aka Most Favored Nation status) for Russia,” reported CBS News’ Sara Cook. “The US is also banning the import of key goods from the Russian economy, including seafood, vodka & diamonds.”
“Most Favored Nation gives all countries with the status equal trade advantages, such as paying lower tariffs,” the reporter explained. “By stripping this, tariffs on Russian imports would rise — at a time when Russia’s economy is already in free fall.”
The G7 nations, along with the European Union, are coordinating efforts to hamstring the Russian economy and sap the morale of the Russian public.
“Each of our nations will take steps to deny ‘most favoured nation’ status to Russia. A most favoured nation status designation means two countries have agreed to trade with each other under the best possible terms — low tariffs, few barriers to trade and the highest possible imports allowed,” Biden said.
“In the United States, we call this permanent normal trade relations, PNTR, but it’s the same thing,” he added. “Revoking PNTR for Russia is going to make it harder for Russia to do business with the United States and doing it in unison with other nations that make up half of the global economy will be another crushing blow to the Russian economy that’s already suffering very badly from our sanctions.”