US to expand Russia sanctions

Washington: The United States will expand its sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, targeting members of the country’s parliament and the central bank’s gold reserves, the White House announced Thursday.

At the same time, Washington will increase its humanitarian assistance by welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and providing an additional $1 billion in food, medicine, water and other supplies.

The White House announced the initiatives as U.S. President Joe Biden and world leaders gathered in Brussels for a trio of summits in response to the Russian invasion, seeking new ways to limit the economic and security fallout from the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the day’s first meeting, an emergency NATO summit, where he called for military assistance without limitations. He pleaded for anti-air and anti-ship weapons, asking is it possible to survive in such a war without this? It feels like we’re in a gray area, between the West and Russia, defending our common values, Zelenskyy said during the video address. This is the scariest thing during a war — not to have clear answers to requests for help! A U.S. official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Western nations are discussing the possibility of providing anti-ship weapons amid concerns that Russia will launch amphibious assaults along the Black Sea coast.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg opened the closed-door summit with a sober warning that the alliance must boost its defenses and respond to a new security reality in Europe. We gather at a critical time for our security, he said, addressing the leaders seated at a large round table. We are united in condemning the Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression and in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Stoltenberg said the alliance is “determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to bring about the end of this brutal war. In addition to the NATO summit, Brussels is also hosting separate summits of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and if the European Union. Biden is attending all three meetings and will hold a news conference afterward.