US, Allies Bolster Ukraine Support

The United States and other leading economies in the Group of Seven nations Sunday agreed to ban or phase out the purchase of Russian oil, directly targeting a major source of income for Moscow to pay for its 10-week invasion of Ukraine.  

“This will hit hard at the main artery of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the G-7 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. said after a virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  

The U.S. has already ended its purchase of Russian oil, while the 27-nation European  Union, which gets about a quarter of its crude oil imports from Russia, has also announced plans to do likewise. It is still in talks on exactly how to end its reliance on Moscow’s oil.

“Putin has failed in his initial military objective to dominate Ukraine – but he has  

succeeded in making Russia a global pariah,” the White House said in a statement.  

“Today, the United States, the European Union and G7 committed to ratchet up these  costs” with further sanctions targeting “financial elites” in Russia who support Putin, as well as their family members.

The call with Zelenskyy took place on the day the G-7 leaders commemorated the end of World War II in the European theater and as Russia prepared for Monday’s annual celebration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, which it calls Victory Day.

“We remain united in our resolve that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,” the G-7 statement said. “We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War.”

The G-7 said Putin’s invasion of Ukraine brings “shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”

As part of Sunday’s talks, Washington announced new sanctions against three highly watched Russian state television outlets, saying they “have been among the largest recipients of foreign revenue, which feeds back to the Russian state’s revenue.”

The U.S. also said it would ban Americans from providing financial services to Russian companies to keep elites from building wealth, “thereby generating revenue for Putin’s war machine, and to trying to hide that wealth and evade sanctions.”

The White House statement said the U.S. would also impose further export controls on a wide range of industrial products, to “further limit Russia’s access to items and revenue that could support its military capabilities.”

The U.S. said it has already imposed about 2,600 visa restrictions on Russians and Belarusians in response to what it said was their ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine. Belarus is one of Russia’s closest allies.

The U.S. government has also sanctioned eight executives at Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia; 27 executives from Gazprombank, which handles business by Russia’s Gazprom, one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world; and Moscow Industrial Bank and its 10 subsidiaries.

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