The Kremlin has acknowledged that the Russian economy has been dealt “serious blows” because of sanctions that foreign governments have imposed as punishment for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to invade Ukraine.
“Russia’s economy is experiencing serious blows,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a call with foreign reporters, according to CNN. “But there is a certain margin of safety, there is potential, there are some plans, work is underway.”
Indeed, economic sanctions have caused the Russian ruble to crater, sending the country’s economy into freefall.
In the days since the invasion began, Western governments have frozen the assets of Russia’s central bank, a move that has limited its ability to access $630 billion in international dollar reserves.
The United States, the European Union, and other nations have also agreed to ban selected Russian banks from SWIFT, the messaging network that financial institutions use to securely transmit information and instructions through a standardized system of codes.
Multiple countries’ sanctions target individuals, including Putin and members of Putin’s inner circle, and these nations have pledged to identify and seize assets held by Russian oligarchs.
French authorities, for instance, this week announced that they would work to find and seize any assets and have directed banks and insurance companies to audit millions of accounts to target those belonging to Russians on the sanctions list as well as their family members and any holding companies that may have been set up in an effort to conceal their identities.
In last night’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would officially ban Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace, joining other countries that have already done so.
“Tonight I’m announcing that we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy,” the President said.
Canada and the European Union had earlier closed off their respective airspace to Russian aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration has acknowledged that the ban includes scheduled passenger flights as well as cargo and charter flights.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.