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The Geneva Talks and Putin’s Inner Circle
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Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Russian, Ukrainian and European Union officials in Geneva to discuss the situation going on in eastern Ukraine. According to a report by Bloomberg News, an administration official warned yesterday that if the Geneva talks fail, the U.S. is ready to take further steps, targeting people in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle as well as the entities they oversee.

The deputy director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, William Pomeranz reported that, “The biggest weapon in terms of sanctions would be similar sanctions to what we did in Iran and basically try to exclude Russia from international financial markets,” according to Bloomberg News. William Pomeranz shared that “The Russians fear that, and that is what the Russians want to avoid.” The U.S. Treasury has used financial-industry sanctions in the past extensively with Iran.


In an interview conducted with CBS News U.S. President Obama avoided specifics, but  President Obama vowed new punishment if Russian President Vladimir Putin does not halt support for Ukraine’s separatist militias and pull back troops from the border. “Putin’s decisions are not just bad for Ukraine, over the long term they’re going to be bad for Russia,” Obama said, according to Bloomberg News.

According to former government officials and sanctions specialists, forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool at U.S. President Barack Obama’s disposal if he wants to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions. The U.S. Treasury Department has powers to freeze Russia’s access to bank loans, credit cards, clearing and settlements of transactions. A senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Robert Kahn reported that according to Bloomberg, That would basically force Russia out of the global markets.

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