'Putin Must Pay a Price': Biden Unveils New Penalties

West moves to downgrade Russia's trading status; caviar and vodka banned from the US
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2022 10:38 AM CST
'Putin Must Pay a Price': Biden Unveils New Penalties
President Biden speaks Friday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – The US and the West continue to turn the screws on Russia financially, and one tangible effect of Friday's moves is that Russian vodka and caviar will no longer be allowed into the US, reports CNN. The bans are part of newly announced penalties announced by President Biden. At a White House news conference, Biden said the US would strip Russia of its "most favored nation" trading status, reports Axios. The move, which must be formalized by Congress, would put Russia on par with North Korea and Cuba. The bigger hit on Moscow, however, is that the European Union and the Group of Seven nations are taking similar measures, reports the Washington Post.

"The free world is coming together to confront Putin," said Biden, describing the action as "another crushing blow" to Russia. The New York Times explains that the moves will allow nations to raise tariffs on Russian goods, and prevent Moscow from being able to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or other such institutions. While the US move on its own will have a "limited" impact on Russia's economy, the European action will hurt much more, explains the Wall Street Journal.

The EU accounts for 41% of Russian exports, the most in the world by far, per the Journal. China (which has not joined in the West's penalties on Russia) is second at 13%. For context, Russia is only the 23rd-largest trading partner of America. Still, the US will ban imports of Russian seafood and alcohol, as well as exports of luxury goods such as jewelry and cars that pro-Putin oligarchs favor. "Putin must pay a price," said Biden. (The US already has banned Russian oil and natural gas.)

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