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Yellen says US will address potential gaps in Russia sanctions

CHICAGO (CNA) – The United States (US) will address potential gaps in tough sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday, adding the measures would “continue to bite”.

Yellen said financial sanctions on the Russian central bank, commercial banks and members of the country’s wealthy elite were having a significant impact, as demonstrated by the ruble’s sharp fall.

“Russia is increasingly an economic island,” she said at the University of Illinois-Chicago after visiting Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighbourhood.

“We will continue to look at how the sanctions work and whether there are leakages and we have the possibility to address them.”

Asked whether sanctions to curb Russia’s oil and gas exports could follow, she said “nothing is off the table”, but added that the US had not taken this step to spare Americans, Europeans and other people around the world from “punishing consequences”.

Sanctions imposed last Sunday and Monday have so far restricted 80 per cent of the Russian banking sector’s assets and “immobilised” about half of the Russian central bank’s assets, she said.

The ruble, which has lost about a third of its value since the start of the year, touched a fresh record low of 110 to the dollar in Moscow on Wednesday as the country’s financial system teetered under the weight of Western sanctions.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking Committee hybrid hearing in Washington. PHOTO: CNA

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