The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would sign a bill allowing additional sanctions against Moscow, as officials warned that Russia’s economy is on the “brink of crisis.”
“If I were chairman of President Putin’s council of economic advisers, I would be extremely concerned,” Jason Furman, who holds that position in the Obama administration, told reporters at the White House.
The new sanctions legislation comes as the value of Russia’s currency, the ruble, has collapsed in recent weeks alongside a dramatic fall in the price of oil, Russia’s top export.
Furman said Russian leaders had “only bad choices,” as they weigh increasing interest rates — and constraining the domestic economy — or allowing the ruble to continue to depreciate on the international stage.
On Monday, Russia’s central bank announced it would raise its key interest rate from 10.5 percent to 17 percent — the largest single increase since 1998, preceding a government default on its debt. It was the sixth interest rate increase this year by Russia.
“I think they are facing a very serious economic situation and it’s a serious economic situation that is largely of their own making and largely reflects the consequences of not following a set of international rules,” Furman said.
The United States and Europe have implemented penalties on Russia’s energy, financial and military sectors following Russia’s incursions into Ukraine.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president would sign by week’s end new legislation that imposes new penalties on Russian weapons exports and oil production imports. The legislation also targets Moscow’s national energy company if it withholds supplies from European states, and makes rolling back sanctions more difficult.