Biden to ban U.S. imports of Russian vodka, diamonds and seafood

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U.S. President Joe Biden announces new actions against Russia for its war on Ukraine, during remarks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Friday issued an executive order blocking U.S. imports of key Russian products, including vodka, and banning exports of high-end goods to Russia.

The executive action bans imports from key sectors of Russia’s economy, such as seafood, alcohol and non-industrial diamonds, according to the text of the order.

That action will block more than $1 billion in Russian revenues and help ensure American citizens are not “underwriting” President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, the White House said in a fact sheet.

The order will also stop the U.S. from exporting what the administration called “luxury items” to anyone in Russia. Those products include high-end watches and clothes, jewelry, top-shelf liquor and luxury vehicles — all of which feature prominently in the lifestyles of mega-rich Russian oligarchs.

The new export restrictions are valued at nearly $550 million per year, the White House said.

“They’re not the last steps we’re taking,” Biden said in a speech at the White House on Friday morning.

“Putin is the aggressor and Putin must pay the price,” he added.

The White House revealed the latest steps to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine after Biden called on the U.S. to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trading status, opening the door to damaging new tariffs. The European Union and the Group of Seven nations are expected to take the same steps.

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