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Biden to sign new executive order to ‘strengthen’ sanctions against Russia

By Samantha Waldenberg, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden intends to sign a new executive order on Friday to “strengthen” sanctions against Russia, according to senior administration officials.

The executive order, they said, will focus on “secondary sanctions to go after financial institutions” that support Russia’s military in its war in Ukraine.

“This tool will be the first time that we’re introducing a tool that allows us to use secondary sanctions to go after financial institutions during this conflict in order to provide us with a strong tool to disincentivize the type of behavior that is furthering Russia’s ability to build weapons of choice that they are using in Ukraine,” one senior administration official said.

Another senior administration official said that the upcoming executive order will provide the US a way to target institutions that are providing goods and financial services to Russia in a more “surgical” way.

“Over the course of the last two years, we have spent time talking to jurisdictions and financial institutions about the importance of making sure that they do not provide material support to the Russia’s economy. And what the President signing the executive order, we have a tool that allows us to hold them accountable,” a senior administration official told reporters.

The goal of this executive order is to pour “sand into the gears of Russia’s military logistics,” according to one official.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted the new executive order as a step to “level new and powerful tools against Russia’s war machine.”

“Today we are taking steps to level new and powerful tools against Russia’s war machine,” Yellen said in a statement released Friday. “We will not hesitate to use the new tools provided by this authority to take decisive, and surgical, action against financial institutions that facilitate the supply of Russia’s war machine.”

A senior administration official told CNN that “provisions” in the executive order will take effect immediately after the president signs it. US officials say sanctions have significantly hurt Russia’s economy, but sanctions have not yet forced Russia to halt its war.

The administration has continued to call on Congress to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine, with one senior administration official calling it “essential.”

CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.

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