Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Russian industry leaders on Thursday afternoon, saying that the government and Russian companies had both prepared for the eventuality of sanctions.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a slew of new sanctions that would "impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time".
"We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximise a long-term impact on Russia and to minimise the impact on the United States and our allies", he said.
The sanctions are intended to harm Russia's tech sector, including cutting off more than half its tech imports, as well as its space, aerospace, and military industries. However, he dismissed cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international bank wire system, as some European allies have suggested, saying that the sanctions would have an equal or greater effect.
"We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen - to be part of the global economy", Biden said. "We are going to stunt the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impose major - and we're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st century economy".
He announced four more Russian banks that hold more than $1 trillion in assets would be sanctioned and their assets in the United States frozen, and that Russian "elites" and their families would be sanctioned as well. He said sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin is also "on the table".
The targeted banks include Otkritie FC Bank, Sovcombank OJSC, Novikombank, and VTB Bank, as well as 34 of their subsidiaries. The US Treasury also imposed restrictions on all transactions in, provision of financing for, and other dealings in new debt of greater than 14 days maturity and new equity issued by 13 Russian state-owned enterprises and entities: Sberbank, AlfaBank, Credit Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank, Russian Agricultural Bank, Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Transneft, Rostelecom, RusHydro, Alrosa, Sovcomflot, and Russian Railways.
The US Treasury also sanctioned several leading Russian politicians and their family members, including Sergei Ivanov, the special representative for environmental activities, ecology, and transport; Andrey Patrushev, the general director of offshore gas projects for Gazprom Neft; Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft; Andrey Puchkov, a leading VTB Bank executive; Yuriy Soloviev, chairman of VTB Bank; Galina Ulyutina, Soloviev's wife; and Alexander Vedyakhin, an executive at Sberbank.
"These are people who personally gained from the Kremlin's policies and they should share in the pain", Biden said of those sanctioned. "We will keep up this drumbeat of those designations against corrupt billionaires in the days ahead".
The Treasury additionally sanctioned 24 Belarusian individuals and entities, including Belinvestbank and Bank Dabrabyt, as well as close affiliates of President Alexander Lukashenko.
The US president also said he would release petroleum from America's strategic reserve to counteract the effects on oil markets by the sanctions.
Early on Thursday morning, Putin announced the beginning of a military operation in Ukraine to end the constant attacks on the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, which his government recognised earlier this week. However, Biden has claimed that the operation is the "full-scale invasion" that his government has predicted was imminent for several months.
The conflict has come after months of failed negotiations in which Russian security concerns in the region were roundly ignored by NATO, whose increasingly close relationship with Ukraine was a primary concern for Moscow. Putin said the operation in Ukraine was intended to "neutralise" the country so that NATO could not use it as a base from which to attack Russia.
Following Putin's recognition of the Donbass republics, which split from Ukraine in 2014, and his dispatching of peacekeeping troops there, Biden announced a "first tranche" of sanctions on Tuesday that targeted Russia's sovereign debt and several leading state development banks.
Since 2017, US military strategy documents have described Russia as a "malign actor" alongside China, against both of which the US must engage in "great power competition", abandoning its two-decade War on Terror.
On Thursday afternoon, Putin met with leading Russian businessmen to discuss the impending onset of sanctions and how the Russian economy would cope with them.
"We understand that the new sanctions will be much tougher than all previous restrictions, they will affect many sectors", Alexander Shokhin, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), told Putin at the meeting. He added that "Russian companies will have to work even more energetically and efficiently, ensure the smooth operation of their enterprises, avoiding job cuts, shortages, price hikes".