"The U.S. is taking immediate action on Monday to prohibit American dollar transactions with the Russian central bank and fully block the Russian direct investment fund, senior administration officials said, an aggressive move that aims at some of Russia's most powerful means of mitigating the effect of sanctions.
The steps are meant to prevent Russia from accessing a "rainy day fund" that officials said Moscow had been expecting to rely upon during the invasion of Ukraine. Instead of using the reserves to buffer a plummeting ruble, Russia will no longer be able to access the funds it keeps in U.S. dollars.
The sweeping new sanctions — taken with Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Canada, the European Union and others — come as Russia's economy is already in freefall.
"No country is sanction proof," a White House official said. "Putin's war chest of $630 billion in reserves only matters if you can use it to defend his currency, specifically by selling those reserves in exchange for buying the ruble."
"After today's actions that will no longer be possible, and fortress Russia will be exposed as a myth."