Moscow — Russia said on Monday it was preparing to restrict entry into Russia for nationals of “unfriendly” countries, which include Britain, all European Union states and the United States.
“A draft presidential decree is being developed on retaliatory visa measures in response to the unfriendly actions of a number of foreign states,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in televised remarks. “This act will introduce a number of restrictions on entry into Russia.”
Russia’s top diplomat provided no elaboration on the precise measures being developed.
After the West piled unprecedented sanctions on Moscow following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into pro-Western, Russia expanded the list of what it calls “unfriendly” countries.
They now include the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, all EU member states and several others.
Russian carriers have been banned from the airspace of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States and travel to and from Russia is now limited. But the travel restrictions are just the tip of an iceberg of international sanctions and exclusions imposed on Putin’s regime, his allies, and his country.
As Sharyn Alfonsi reported for CBS’ “,” while the U.S. and its allies have refused to help Ukraine with boots on the ground or a no-fly zone, they have instead waged an economic shock and awe campaign. Never before has such a large, modern economy been cut off so quickly from most of the world.
Daleep Singh the U.S. deputy national security adviser for international economics, is the White House official largely credited with designing the sanctions that Putin himself has described as an “economic blitzkrieg.”
Within 72 hours of Russia launching its invasion on February 24, the U.S. and its allies kicked most Russian financial institutions out of SWIFT — the backbone of the global bank payments system. Then they froze the foreign bank accounts of dozens of Russian billionaires and began seizing their superyachts and other property.
But Alfonsi said the most dramatic strike was directed at the Central Bank of Russia, which was cut off from $300 billion it had stashed in American, European and Asian banks so the Russian government could pay its bills if it ever faced sanctions again.
Asked how he knows the unprecedented package of sanctions he designed is working, Singh told “60 Minutes” that it was clear to him because “you hear top Russian officials describing the pain they’re under,” and he added that those officials have taken “some desperate measures” to try to compensate for the punishment.
“Capital controls, for example, preventing people within Russia from taking foreign currency out,” he said. “I think it’s a desperate move. He’s [Putin’s] self-isolating his economy. Russia is now on the fast track to a 1980s-style Soviet living standard. It’s looking into an economic abyss, and that is the result of Putin’s choices.”