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The G-7 is tightening up economic sanctions on Russia for its war on Ukraine

President Biden greets Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before a bilateral meeting in Hiroshima ahead of the G-7 leaders' summit.
Brendan Smialowski
/
AFP via Getty Images
President Biden greets Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before a bilateral meeting in Hiroshima ahead of the G-7 leaders' summit.

Updated May 18, 2023 at 5:16 PM ET

The United States plans to blacklist about 70 companies and organizations for selling restricted U.S. products to Russia, part of a push by G-7 nations to try to exact more economic pain on Russia for its war on Ukraine.

Each of the G-7 countries has actions planned, said a U.S. official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcements by leaders. The public statements are expected sometime during their summit in Hiroshima, Japan, this weekend.

"This is going to be a significant effort that will extensively restrict Russia's access to goods that matter for its battlefield capabilities," the official said.

The United States also will cut off about 300 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft from the U.S. financial system for circumventing U.S. sanctions on Russia, the official said. This will include people and companies from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The G-7 has had sanctions in place since the war began more than a year ago. But Russia has found ways to get around the rules to buy products and access financing, adapting to the rules.

Take, for example, a surge in washing machine trade, said Max Bergmann, a former State Department official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"We've seen a huge import of washing machines making their way into Russia where they're trying to take out the microchips and use them for missile production or other weapons," Bergmann told NPR.

Former Treasury Department official Kim Donovan, now at the Atlantic Council, said the Russia sanctions regime is having an impact — even though Russia has not pulled back from the war.

"This is a slow process," Donovan said. "Anything that occurs in this space is not going have an immediate impact that maybe we're accustomed to seeing on the battlefield where things go 'boom.' This is going to be a slow burn."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.
Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.