US Allegedly Mulls Limiting Russia's Ability to Convert Currency to Deter It From 'Invading' Ukraine
Media reports earlier claimed that US President Joe Biden will use the upcoming video conference with Vladimir Putin to lay out a "pretty damn aggressive package" of sanctions that would be implemented should Russia decide to attack Ukraine. The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected claims that it harbours such plans.
The US administration is considering a measure to ban Russia from converting roubles to dollars, euros, and other currencies and vice versa as an option to punish Moscow in case it decides to attack Ukraine, Bloomberg has reported, citing anonymous sources.
In addition, Washington is reportedly contemplating a ban on buying Russian sovereign debt on the secondary market. The US previously banned investors from buying the country's sovereign debt during initial offerings, but allows purchases afterwards - a minor punitive measure.
The US media outlet's sources also repeated the 6 December report by CNN, that Russia's access to the SWIFT system, used by banks for international and inter-bank wires, might be on the table. CNN's sources called it a "nuclear option". Bloomberg, in turn, said that Washington will likely avoid resorting to it, due to the measure potentially causing too much pain for Russian citizens.
'Pretty Damn Aggressive Package' as Playing Card in Putin-Biden Talks
The ban on rouble conversions will be laid out by US President Joe Biden to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin along with other potential punitive measures during the video conference on 7 December, Bloomberg's sources claims.
This "pretty damn aggressive package", as one CNN source described it, would be used by POTUS as a means to discourage Putin from attacking Ukraine, several media outlets claimed. The package also reportedly includes sanctions against Russian energy companies, banks, as well as "Putin's inner circle".
Biden earlier promised to make it "very, very difficult" for Putin to invade the nation's western neighbour, while White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that POTUS would discuss the issue of Ukraine with his Russian counterpart.
The Kremlin has repeatedly and vehemently rejected the unsubstantiated allegations made in western media outlets, and dismissed the fears expressed by western politicians that it is planning an offensive against Ukraine. The allegations emerged against the backdrop of other unsubstantiated reports claiming that Moscow was amassing troops along the border with Ukraine.
Russia dismissed them as part of a "fake news campaign" against the country and stressed that movements of the country's troops on its own territory are of no one's concern. At the same time, the Kremlin expressed concern about the movements of NATO troops - well beyond their borders and too close to Russia's - in Europe and especially the Black Sea. Moscow also cautioned the West against pumping Ukraine with armaments warning that it could lead to Kiev unleashing bloodshed in an attempt to forcefully resolve the internal conflict in the eastern part of the country.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|