A report in a UK newspaper says that Washington is set to toughen sanctions against Moscow by starving Russia of access to credit.

The Times says that the tougher measures would “mark a dramatic escalation in financial sanctions against Moscow,” if Russia fails to reduce its military presence Ukraine.

Sanction targets

Current US sanctions target what Washington calls President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs and their extensive business interests.

These Russian entities and individuals can only obtain credit of 30 days compared with normal terms with tenors of several years.

Credit squeeze

“We could be talking seven days’ debt maturity,” a Washington official reportedly told The Times.

This would mean that sanctioned entities and individuals that the newspaper says are effectively bankrolling the Russian president and shoring up his powerbase would have to renew credit on a weekly basis.

Minsk Agreement

Washington may be planning to introduce the tougher measures if Russia fails to meet the terms of February’s Minsk Agreement, under which Moscow has said it would withdraw its military presence from Ukraine and eventually restore all control of Ukrainian territory to Kiev.

The EU’s approach to sanctions against Russia remains targeted at senior and military officials and can only be renewed or extended if there is unanimous agreement amongst European member states.

The Times’ full report on prospects for tougher US sanctions on Moscow is available to subscribers to the newspaper here.