Exclusive / Ukraine: US could limit exports to Russia

by Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of US President Joe Biden plans to introduce strict controls on exports to Russia in order to disrupt the Russian economy If Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to invade Ukraine, a US official told Reuters on Tuesday.

These measures, which must be discussed during the day at the White House during a meeting between high representatives, would come in addition to the economic sanctions that Washington says it is ready to impose against Russia in case of an offensive against Ukraine, as Moscow has deployed tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border.

In a virtual interview earlier this month, Joe Biden has warned Vladimir Putin that economic measures of unprecedented magnitude will be taken against Russia in the event of a military escalation against Ukraine. The Kremlin denies any plan to invade and assures that Russian troops are present for defensive purposes.

According to the American representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, the White House is discussing including “extraordinary” export control measures that could dry up entire swathes of Russian technology sectors.

These measures could undermine Russia’s ability to import smartphones, essential spare parts for aviation and automotive, as well as materials from many other sectors, said the representative.

The impact could be resounding for Russian consumers, industrial operations and jobs,

These would be unprecedented measures against Russia, according to the source. Their eventual implementation would be through tools used by the administration of former President Donald Trump, then by the Biden administration, to prevent Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from acquiring advanced semiconductors.

Washington plans to conduct close consultations with partners in Europe and Asia that may be affected by these measures and to encourage them to coordinate efforts where appropriate.

(Report Steve Holland; French version Jean Terzian)