U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday (local time) that Russian President Vladimir Putin could face personal sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine. President Biden sent a strong warning that U.S.-Russia diplomatic relations would be severed and the two countries would go back to the Cold War era confrontation in case of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
When asked by reporters in Washington if he would consider personal sanctions on President Putin if Russia invades Ukraine, President Biden said, “Yes, I would see that.” World leaders, who have faced U.S. sanctions, include North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2016), Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro (2017) and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (2019). These leaders are from the countries, whose diplomatic relations with the U.S. are practically severed. When an individual is subject to U.S. sanctions, his assets in the U.S. are frozen and all transactions with American individuals and companies are prohibited.
In particular, a high-ranking official of the Biden administration said the U.S. is in talks with major natural gas producers around the world on ways to increase gas production to help Europe with gas supply, adding that even if Russia cuts energy supply, Europe can secure other energy suppliers. The U.S. plans to ban oil and gas exports, which account for two-thirds of Russia’s total imports, in addition to the financial sanctions and export controls.
A senior White House official said a gradual escalation of sanctions in the past is out and this time the U.S. will “start at the top of the escalation ladder and stay there.” It means the U.S. plans to simultaneously impose super-strong sanctions that will hit Russia’s politics and economy as a whole, and maintain the sanctions for a long time.