U.S. weighs new banking sanctions against Russia - report

U.S. weighs new banking sanctions against Russia - report

The U.S. and European allies are weighing sanctions targeting Russia’s biggest banks and the country’s ability to convert rubles for dollars and other foreign currencies should Russia invade Ukraine, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. 

The sanctions - including against some of Russia’s largest banks and the Russian Direct Investment Fund - are among the options that U.S. President Joe Biden may spell out when he speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, according to the people. The U.S. could also restrict the ability of investors to buy Russian debt on the secondary market, they said. 

The options were described by two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. The most drastic option would be to bar Russia’s access to the Swift financial payments system, but that would wreak havoc on ordinary citizens so officials are more inclined to go after Russia’s ability to convert rubles into dollars, euros or British pounds, the people said. 

Putin and Biden will speak later on Tuesday in an attempt to defuse a tense situation on the Russia-Ukraine border.