The US has lined up a package of sanctions to slap on Russian financial institutions in the event of an attack on Ukraine, including barring US financial firms from processing transactions for major Russian banks.
President Biden is readying the measures to effectively sever “correspondent” banking relationships that enable international payments between US and Russian, Reuters reported.
The US is also reportedly ready to wield its most powerful sanctioning tool by putting Russian individuals on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, effectively expelling them from the U.S. banking system, banning their trade with Americans and freezing their U.S. assets, according to sources cited by Reuters.
The sources said the package could still change and it was currently unclear who the targets would be, but top Russian financial institutions including VTB Bank, Sberbank, VEB, and Gazprombank have been suggested as possible targets.
The reports come after a series of warnings from leaders over the weekend that the West was readying devastating sanctions if Russia goes ahead with an attack on Ukraine.
US Vice President Kamala Harris told Moscow on Saturday that the US and its allies would impose “significant and unprecedented” economic costs on Russia in the event of an invasion.
Boris Johnson meanwhile warned on Saturday that British sanctions on Russia would include both individuals and companies of strategic importance to the Russian state, as he vowed today to make it impossible for them to raise finance on the London capital markets.
He told the Munich Security Conference: “The UK has worked with the European Union and the United States to put together the toughest and strongest package of sanctions, and I spoke recently to President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the measures prepared by the EU, in the closest coordination with our own.”