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US Treasury chief threatens Chinese banks over aid to Moscow: Washington will come after you

US Treasury chief threatens Chinese banks over aid to Moscow: Washington will come after you US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (Getty Images)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen concluded four days of negotiations in China with a warning to the country's banks and exporters. If they help strengthen Russia's military potential, Washington will come after them, according to Bloomberg.

“I stressed that companies, including those in the PRC (People’s Republic of China - ed.), must not provide material support for Russia’s war, and that they will face significant consequences if they do,” said Yellen's statement prepared for a press conference at the US ambassador's residence in Beijing.

According to her, “any banks that facilitate significant transactions that channel military or dual-use goods to Russia’s defense industrial base expose themselves to the risk of US sanctions.”

As Bloomberg notes, the Biden administration is trying to crack down on firms worldwide that help Russia evade the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies against Moscow after it invaded Ukraine in 2022. Although China has been the subject of previous warnings, Yellen's message delivered to the Chinese capital was an unusually direct threat of sanctions.

It happened on the day when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Beijing "to discuss issues including Ukraine." Although China describes its stance on the war as neutral, trade with Russia has sharply increased since its onset.

America's primary weapon against financial institutions is the Treasury's ability to cut off their access to US dollars, which poses a real threat to any bank operating at an international level.

US sanctions

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to strengthen sanctions against financial institutions aiding Russia. These banks could be cut off from the US financial system, destroying the financial institution.

Russian oil companies are facing delays of several months in payment for crude oil and fuel, as banks in China, Türkiye, and the UAE become more cautious about secondary US sanctions.