EU to Take Further Steps Against Russian Leaders, Belarus Banks

Russia, EU, sanctions

The European Union (EU) is set to pile on more sanctions targeted at wealthy Russians, their families and members of the Russian Parliament, diplomats told Bloomberg.

This latest round of penalties for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine targets more than 100 members of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly. The panel voted for the war in Ukraine and approved a measure that criminalizes reporting what Russia calls “fake” news about the invasion, according to the anonymous diplomats.

These actions do not include more comprehensive steps such as penalizing ports, the sources said.

The EU proposal also includes prohibiting three Belarus banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), a messaging network financial institutions use to send and receive money transfer instructions quickly, accurately and securely.

These moves represent an increasing pressure on Moscow as the invasion becomes more intense, even as members of the 27-nation bloc wish to avoid hurting Europe, particularly amid an energy crunch.

The EU is also divided over whether to impose an embargo on Russian oil.

On Monday (March 7), Bloomberg reported the White House is expected to act against Russian oligarchs who will use bitcoin to bypass harsh sanctions. President Joe Biden is expected to push the regulation of cryptocurrencies to the top of the agenda, according to reports.

Read more: As Sanctions Push Crypto Regulation up the Agenda, Biden Calls for a Report

President Biden may tell federal agencies to take several months to report “examine potential regulatory changes, as well as the national security and economic impact of digital assets.”

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that the conflict “underscored the need for Congressional action on digital finance including cryptocurrencies.”