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White House says US weighs additional sanction steps as Russia shifts war footing

White House says US weighs additional sanction steps as Russia shifts war footing

World

White House says US weighs additional sanction steps as Russia shifts war footing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its partners are prepared to use sanctions and export controls to prevent China-Russia trade that threatens their security amid the ongoing Ukraine war, a White House official said on Tuesday.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser For International Economics Daleep Singh said the countries could also further act to increase Russia's cost of using a shadow fleet to evade the Group of Seven countries' oil price cap.

They could also broaden current sanctions language regarding financial facilitation given Moscow's moves to shift its economy to war footing, he said, although he declined to say if the U.S. and its allies were moving to adopt secondary sanctions.

He noted that Russia was utterly dependent on China, giving Beijing "enormous leverage" over Moscow's ability to project power, and China faced risks and costs as well, given its combined goods trade with the European Union and the U.S. was seven times that of its trade with Russia.

"To be clear, we have no desire to disrupt all trade between Russia and China, but we and our partners are prepared to use our sanctions and our export controls to prevent the trade of goods and technologies that threaten our collective security," he said.

He said Russia-China trade had dropped since U.S. President Joe Biden had expanded the Treasury's ability to target financial institutions, adding authorities may expand further.

Singh told an event hosted by the Brookings Institution think tank that Western countries needed to intensify efforts to prevent Moscow's circumvention of sanctions, and urged U.S. companies to ensure their products were not unwittingly aiding Russia's war effort.

He said the G7 leaders' summit next month was the best chance to shore up Ukraine's financing gap by planning to monetize around $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, a move he said was risky but necessary.

"Of course, there are risks involved in mobilizing these assets, the policy is all about tradeoffs," Singh told an event at the Brookings Institution. "I think sanctions are doing their job, relative to the objectives that we set."

There was no consensus yet among the G7 countries on monetizing frozen Russian assets, which could quickly provide Kyiv with at least $50 billion in additional funding, but Washington was pressing for an agreement given the dire situation facing Ukraine on the battlefield, Singh said.