Russia Says Sanctions Against Putin Won’t Hurt Him Personally

( Last week, the Biden administration announced that it had set a diplomatic path to address Russia’s demands in Eastern Europe.

In the written response requested by the Kremlin, the US repeated its commitment to NATO’s “open door” policy and offered a “principled and pragmatic evaluation” of the Kremlin’s concerns.

In a press briefing with reporters last Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said putting the US response in writing allowed the US to be as “precise as possible” with Russia and now the ball is in Russia’s court.

While Blinken was discussing his diplomatic strategy from the US State Department, diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany were meeting in Paris where they held over eight hours of talks on ending the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

According to one French official, last week’s Paris talks were a good signal from Russia and a step toward de-escalating the broader tensions in Ukraine. However, since major differences remained, further talks are planned for next week in Berlin.

Meanwhile, the White House has been trying to convince Moscow that any action against Ukraine would result in massive costs. Last Tuesday, President Biden, whose diplomats weren’t invited to Paris, suggested that he may consider imposing sanctions on Vladimir Putin personally if Russia invades Ukraine.

Two weeks ago when the US made the same threat, the Kremlin warned that placing sanctions on Putin would lead to a complete rupture in US/Russian relations.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, personal sanctions on President Putin, while they wouldn’t be “painful,” would be politically destructive.

Peskov noted that Russia’s leaders are legally prevented from holding assets, property, and bank accounts abroad. So what personal sanctions President Biden is proposing is anybody’s guess.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters last Wednesday if Russia invades Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany would not move forward. However, Price did not say whether Germany is on board with this threat.