Biden Cracks Down on Russian Defense Financiers with New Executive Order

( – An executive order signed Dec. 23 by President Joe Biden will allow the Treasury Department to target financial institutions that help Russia bolster its defense industry.

The purpose of the executive order is to prevent Russia from restocking its arsenal, which has been depleted in its fight against Ukraine. According to a U.S. assessment, Russia has lost more than 13,000 pieces of equipment, such as drones, tanks and missile systems. During the first half of 2023, Russia’s defense spending increased by nearly 75 percent and is on track for record spending in 2024.

The executive order will also tighten existing restrictions for seafood and diamonds imported from Russia after being reviewed by U.S. agencies.

The executive order follows a Dec. 6 virtual meeting between Biden and the G7 leaders, where the leaders said they would work to prevent Russia from using the international financial system to further its war efforts in Ukraine.

The executive order will tighten “the screws on Russia’s war machine and its enablers,” according to National security adviser Jake Sullivan. He said the executive order will send the “unmistakable message” that those supporting Russia’s war efforts will “risk losing access to the U.S. financial system.” In a statement, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said action will be taken against financial institutions if they “facilitate the supply” to “Russia’s war machine.”

Biden is also continuing his push for a $106 billion package that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and security for the southern border of the U.S. as the Defense Department runs out of available funds to support Ukraine’s defense. The new request for aid includes $61 billion for Ukraine, with most of the money being used to purchase weapons from the U.S. Lawmakers have been negotiating the aid package since Republicans stated they would not approve of additional aid for Ukraine without changes to immigration and border policy.

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