The administration of US President Joe Biden has spoken with the country's largest banks about sanctions against Russia amid Washington’s claims that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine, according to reports.
Senior Biden administration officials and members of the National Security Council (NSC) talked to Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The officials also reportedly spoke with executives from the major companies.
The NSC told The Hill the Biden administration has been clear that it is assessing a range of options “to deliver severe costs to the Russian economy” if Russia invades Ukraine.
“Assessing potential spillovers and exploring ways to reduce those spillovers is good governance and standard practice. Any details in this regard that make their way to the public only demonstrate the extensive detail and seriousness with which we are discussing and are prepared to impose significant measures with our allies and partners – including actions we did not pursue in 2014,” said an NSC spokesperson, referring to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
On Tuesday, Biden said he would consider imposing direct economic sanctions on Putin if he orders an invasion of Ukraine.
Biden said there were no plans to send American troops to Ukraine, but said he would consider imposing economic sanctions personally targeting Putin and that there would be "enormous consequences" if Russia invaded.
Biden told reporters that the 8,500 troops put on high alert to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe “are part of a NATO operation, not a sole U.S. operation.”
“I made it clear to President Putin that we have a sacred obligation, Article 5 obligation to our NATO allies. And that if, in fact, he continued to build up and/or was to move, we would be reinforcing those troops,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, Washington has delivered written replies to sweeping Russian security demands and sought dialogue over Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US delivered on Wednesday the written response to Russian security demands that Moscow has called for.
The United States claims that Russia has been amassing thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine to attack Ukraine. Moscow has rejected the allegations and said the troop build-up is defensive.
Washington has insisted upon expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into the former Soviet states of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and the nations of the defunct Warsaw Pact since the Cold War ended. Russia has vowed to counter any such Western attempts and made security demands.