U.S.-led alliance feels frustration over Russia sanctions

U.S. officials vowed that Russia’s financial system would be battered if it attacked Ukraine, and President Biden boasted in March that sanctions were “crushing the Russian economy” and that “the ruble is reduced to rubble.” But Russian oil revenues have set records as crude prices surge. And after plunging in February, the ruble hit a seven-year high against the dollar this week.

Biden officials say Russia’s economy is nevertheless incurring damage that will compound over time, especially as restrictions on technology exports to Russia gradually stunt the growth of its industries from aerospace to computing. And on Thursday, a White House spokesman said that leaders of the Group of 7 industrial nations, set to begin meetings in Madrid on Sunday, will discuss new plans to further “tighten the screws” on Russia’s economy…

Few if any Biden officials expected sanctions to halt the war immediately. But the administration and its European counterparts also did not expect the economic pressure they now are experiencing. Despite initial assurances that sanctions would not touch Russian energy exports, America has since banned imported Russian oil, and the European Union has announced plans to reduce its imports by 90 percent this year. Partly as a result of those actions, energy prices have surged in the U.S. and Europe, with regular gasoline averaging well above $5 per gallon in some states.