On Wednesday, the United States announced the latest round of sanctions toward Russia over its war on Ukraine as it sets eyes on Donbas.
The United States disclosed sanctions on a key commercial bank and “a global network of more than 40 individuals and entities led by designated U.S. Russian oligarch, Konstantin Malofeyev”.
The U.S. Treasury Department is also targeting its first virtual currency mining company. Russia’s currency mining industry is the third largest in the world, which means Russia will be under further economic stress.
Additionally, the U.S. is reportedly preparing another $800 million military assistance package for Ukraine. Three senior administration officials and two other sources told CNN. This package could take days and the size may change.
The Biden administration believes the military assistance will be vital as the war enters a critical stage as the fighting moves from Kyiv, Ukraine to the Donbas (Luhansk and Donetsk) region. U.S. assistance could make a difference for Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s more aggressive assault on Ukraine’s Eastern region. Artillery and long-range systems are favored in that region, which is why the administration is focusing on getting these kinds of systems out quickly.
Luhansk and Donetsk run from outside Mariupol in the south all the way to the northern border. Mariupol has been under heavy bombardment for nearly two months, leaving residents trapped with scarce food, clean water, and medical care.
The Donbas region borders Russia, giving the Russian forces an advantage in being able to sustain and maintain an assault due to shorter supply lines.
"The key is that it [Donbas] has been identified by the Kremlin as a Russian-speaking part of Ukraine that is more Russia than Ukraine," stated Sam Cranny-Evans of the Royal United Services Institute.
The area used to be Pro-Russian, especially Mariupol until the city was leveled by Russian forces. Ukraine and Russia have been at war in the Donbas area for the past eight years and the region will again be used as a battleground as they fight for control.
If the upcoming military package of $800 million is approved for Ukraine, the U.S. in total will have committed about $3.4 billion since Russia’s invasion on February 24.
The G7 finance ministers also stated they would provide and ally together with the international community to assist Ukraine in more than $24 billion for 2022. They are also willing to exceed that amount if necessary.
“The finance ministers expressed their regret on Russia’s participation in international forums that included G20, International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week,” Reuters reported.
Russia and international organizations shamelessly conducted business as usual, appalling finance ministers and the U.S. Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen herself.
Multiple finance ministers from other nations walked out of a G20 session in Washington once the Russian delegate prepared to speak in protest of the invasion of Ukraine. Yellen and others walked out when Russian Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov, started to virtually speak.
President Joe Biden expressed his own disapproval of allowing Russia to conduct business “in any financial institutions” while they continue to destroy Ukrainian cities and kill civilians.
Throwing Moscow out, however, would take all members to agree, and China has stated it would not support kicking Russia out.
Stay safe and godspeed, my friends.