US has secret weapon against Russia – Nuland
The US is to keep its planned sanctions against Russia completely secret, so Moscow doesn’t have the opportunity to mitigate them in advance, a senior American official said on Sunday.
Speaking to CBS, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland explained that Washington was working on a set of measures that would be imposed were Russia to invade Ukraine, but would not be letting the Kremlin know what they were beforehand.
“With regard to this package of sanctions … deterrence is best when there’s a little bit of strategic ambiguity around exactly what we are going to do,” Nuland explained. “So, we’ve said financial measures, we’ve said export controls, we’ve said new sanctions on Russian elites. But if we put them on the table now, then Russia will be able to start mitigating, and that doesn’t make any sense to us.”
Nuland’s statement came as a group of US lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties, led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), reported that they were close to agreeing on a set of sanctions that could be implemented immediately after any Russian invasion.
According to Washington, the package of measures is designed to deter Russia from considering a military incursion into Ukraine. Moscow stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the border, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has been repeatedly denied by the Kremlin and played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Reports have suggested the sanctions will focus on Russian banks and the export and import of certain goods. The US has also been working with the EU to develop a multilateral response that could take aim at the energy industry.
“We are working intensively with Congress on this piece of legislation that we expect will be very well aligned with what we are building with our NATO allies and partners,” Nuland said.