The U.S.’s Response to Ukraine

In just a month, the entire state of the world has changed. Russia has invaded and started a gruesome war with Ukraine. Many countries worldwide have been responding with caution to avoid another world war with the fear of mutually assured destruction. Being one of the Western countries on which Ukraine relies, the US’s response is up to question. President Biden’s many sanctions to target Russian billionaires have hurt the US economy. The overall impact on the gas prices, inflation and shutdown in Russia to help Ukraine has affected the US. However, though life may become uncomfortable in the US, it may very well seize to exist in Ukraine.

In the past few weeks, several sanctions have been passed by the US government to weaken the Russian economy, as well as a task force with seven other countries and the European Commission to commit to damaging Russia’s economy.[1] These sanctions have targeted Russian oligarchs to weaken their power and their will to continue backing Putin.[2] The expectations are to cut off oligarchs from the rest of the world so that Russian billionaires will have much less to spend their money with. The tactics hold Russian officials accountable, which is crucial as many are in Putin’s inner circle. Since the invasion, the US has enacted significant sanctions that have made a dent in both the US and Russia’s economies. Starting with the Biden Administration’s executive order to stop all new US investment, exports and imports to the region. This was followed by the closing of all US accounts with links to large Russian banks, banning exports of all US technologies, exports to Belarus as well for enabling Russia’s invasion, and then finally banning the import of Russian oil, natural gas and coal.[3]

Executive Order (EO 14066) banning the import of Russian oil is incredibly important as it has had the most significant impact on both economies. Gas prices hit a historic high in the US as the government scrambles to look into other reserves worldwide. Although a shock, the US imported less than 10% of its oil and gas from Russia before the executive order and president Biden has ordered the release of crude oil from the national petroleum reserve.[4] While Congress has proposed to waive the 18 cents-per-gallon gas tax. Further, governor Kemp signed House Bill (HB) 304 on March 18. This bill “suspends state collections of motor fuel taxes through May 31, 2022.”[5] This temporary relief from the 56% price increase and hyperinflation has helped as gas prices are slowly decreasing.

As the world comes together and continues to punish Putin for his war crimes, the most critical question is how have these efforts impacted Russian officials? Although Putin has made efforts like 20% interest rates on the exchange for dollars and euros, the long-term effects of these strict sanctions can not sustain his efforts. With many western companies closing down all branches, like McDonald’s, Disney, Visa and Mastercard, in Russia, prices have drastically increased.[6] Although there is a possible comeback for Russia’s economy due to Europe’s reliance on their oil reserves, President Biden ensures that these economic damages are much worse than Russia makes known.[7] As Biden continues to work with the EU, the war still rages on. Brutal war crimes continue to be discovered as Ukrainian troops come back into Russian-abandoned towns around Kyiv. Many photographs have been released of civilians brutally killed and cities destroyed.[8] As Vladimir Putin continues to commit war crimes, the economic sanctions are currently the best and most effective action to hold him accountable. Although the whole world is struggling economically, the overall intention is greater and the onus should be placed on the government to support citizens currently struggling as a result of these sanctions.