In cold war style, US Senators have urged the Obama administration to freeze assets of three major Russian banks, ban their activities in the US, and deny employees’ entry into the country on the suspicion they are doing business with the Assad regime.
Having failed to galvanize allies for military action, and politically trumped by President Putin’s proposal for peaceful intervention in Syria, American congressmen have now turned to soft power to regain a grip on the Syria conflict. The senators are blaming Russia’s banking giants VTB, Gazprombank, and Vnesheconombank -the state development bank known as VEB– for ‘undermining’ UN sanctions by ‘aiding Assad’.
“The Syrians could not conduct this war without Russian financing,” Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who represents the state of Connecticut, said at a US policy meeting on Iran and Syria at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC.
“We can freeze their assets. We can stop them from doing business in the United States, prevent their employees from traveling here and, in effect, impose very heavy financial pain on the Russians,”Blumenthal said.
The letter accuses VTB of holding President Assad’s personal account, VEB for facilitating Syrian payments for S-300 missile systems, and Russia’s third largest lender Gazprombank for making payments on crude oil. The senators believe these institutions should be ‘barred from the US financial system’.
BREAKING: McCain attacks Putin in Pravda Op-Ed, pokes the bear!
In an op-ed submitted to the Russian newspaper Pravda, McCain tells the Russian people that Putin “rules for himself, not you.” The piece was posted on the paper’s website, Pravda.ru, shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, Moscow time.