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G7 says sanctions already having ‘massive impact’ on Russia, mulls more

Finance ministers swap suggestions for further measures, say their goal is to isolate Moscow ‘politically, financially and economically’ for invading Ukraine

This file photo from February 25, 2022, shows people lining up outside a branch of the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank in Prague to withdraw their savings and close their accounts before Sberbank closed all its branches in the Czech Republic. (Michal Cizek/AFP)
This file photo from February 25, 2022, shows people lining up outside a branch of the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank in Prague to withdraw their savings and close their accounts before Sberbank closed all its branches in the Czech Republic. (Michal Cizek/AFP)

BERLIN — Western sanctions against Russia are having a huge impact on its economy, Germany’s finance minister said Tuesday, as the G7 mulled further punitive measures in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sanctions have “already had a massive impact on capital markets and the currency,” said Christian Lindner, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the G7 club of wealthy nations.

G7 finance ministers at a meeting “exchanged suggestions for further measures that could be taken,” Lindner told a press conference, adding that a decision on the proposals would be taken in the coming days.

The sanctions aim to “isolate Russia politically, financially and economically,” Lindner said.

Since the start of the invasion, Western countries have aimed a barrage of sanctions against Moscow, including the exclusion of a number of banks from the SWIFT payments network, a key pipeline in the global financial system.

Western allies have also taken steps to limit the Russian central bank’s access to international capital markets, destabilizing the ruble, as well as freezing the foreign-held assets of a clutch of Russian oligarchs.

The impact of sanctions on the central bank has “surpassed the expectations we had,” Lindner said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war chest has been hit hard.”

“These measures have a limited impact on us and a maximum impact on Russia,” the finance minister said.

Along with G7 representatives from Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, Britain and the European Union, the meeting was joined by the Ukrainian finance minister Sergiy Marchenko.

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