President Joe Biden on Thursday during a key trip to Europe called for kicking Russia out of the Group of Twenty forum of the world’s largest economies, as his administration rolled out more sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s country in response to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Biden said at a press conference that if Russia isn’t booted from the G-20 because “Indonesia and others do not agree,” then he thinks Ukraine should be able to attend and observe G-20 meetings. He said he raised that possibility on Thursday while meeting with other world leaders in Brussels. The G-20 also includes China, a country that would face “consequences” if it helps Russia, Biden has said.
The president also addressed concerns that Russia could use chemical weapons, following a question from a reporter.
“We would respond,” Biden said. “The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”
His administration’s new sanctions include measures against 48 large Russian state-owned enterprises that are part of that country’s defense-industrial base and produce weapons that have been used in the invasion, the White House said in a statement. Among those enterprises are Tactical Missiles Corporation, High Precision Systems, NPK Tekhmash OAO, Kronshtadt and Russian Helicopters.
The additional measures also are aimed at 328 Duma members and the Duma as an entity, the White House said, referring to the lower chamber of Russia’s legislative body.
In addition, the latest sanctions target Herman Oskarovich Gref — the head of Russia’s largest financial institution, Sberbank , and a longtime adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin — as well as 17 members of Sovcombank’s board, oligarch Gennady Timchenko, Timchenko’s companies and his family members.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new guidance on gold
transactions, saying in a statement that this move should blunt the Russian central bank’s ability to deploy international reserves — and make it clear that “any transaction involving gold
related to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is covered by existing sanctions.”
A senior Biden administration official told reporters that the goal is to stop Russia from using its gold reserves to support its currency, following market chatter that the country was selling its gold in order to buy the ruble
Russia could have gold reserves worth $100 billion to $140 billion, accounting for roughly 20% of the total reserves that Russia held before the invasion, the official said.
The Biden administration had signaled earlier in the week that more sanctions would be rolled out during the president’s trip to Europe, saying the new measures would target individuals and entities. Biden and other NATO leaders met on Thursday morning in Brussels, and that was followed by a G7 summit, with a summit with European Union leaders also planned.
Announcements on new aid and welcoming 100,000 refugees
On Thursday, the administration announced new humanitarian aid as well, saying the U.S. is ready to provide more than $1 billion in additional funding for food, shelter, clean water, medical supplies and other forms of assistance to Ukraine. There are also will be “an additional $320 million in democracy and human rights funding to Ukraine andits neighbors,” the White House statement said.
Moreover, a senior administration official offered an announcement on accepting refugees, saying the U.S. will welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression.