US unveils its biggest sanctions package against Russia: But not its strongest steps

The 200-page document, the largest single list of US sanctions since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, includes targets in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, China and other countries. Noteworthy were the companies and sectors not included in the extensive list: The metals sector, additional energy-related penalties and secondary sanctions on banks.

However, the list announced on friday was full of individuals and institutions that had already been sanctioned or had limited links to the US financial system, thus reducing their impact. This list did not please Ukraine. As Ukraine awaits approval of $60 billion worth of new arms and ammunition, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, believes that the only Western action that would really scare Russian President Vladimir Putin is to provide Ukraine with more weapons.

Despite all that has happened, the targeted blow to the Russian economy has not been struck. “The latest announcements imply only a gradual tightening of the sanctions regime, and we still expect the Russian economy to grow by around 1 to 1.5 percent in 2024,” said Alexander Isakov, Russia economist at Bloomberg Economics.