October 13, 2022

Time to Unleash Congress on Putin

By Edward Fishman

In response to Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, the United States has marshaled its allies in an economic war with no obvious precedent. Within days of Vladimir Putin’s declaration of war in February, the United States galvanized the world’s leading democracies to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia’s financial sector, including the country’s central bank — the largest sanctions target in recent history.

Congressional action can provide the heft that’s needed to enforce difficult global sanctions regimes.

From the beginning of the campaign, the United States and its allies moved carefully in one key area: energy. Russia is a petro-state, dependent on oil and gas sales for two-thirds of its export revenues and half of its budget. But with global oil prices high and inflation afflicting much of the West, Washington and Brussels have been reluctant to take actions that could nudge oil prices — and inflation — still higher.

Early in the war, Washington banned domestic imports of Russian oil. Still, to ensure that sanctions didn’t inadvertently curb the flow of Russian oil to other countries, the Biden administration issued a license that exempts Russia’s energy sales from the thicket of U.S. restrictions. This exemption has allowed the Kremlin to continue to rake in billions from oil exports as its armies perpetrated untold atrocities in Ukraine. In December, that license will finally expire, and the United States and its allies will begin enforcing a price cap on Russia’s oil exports.

Read the full article from POLITICO.

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