With an economy in free fall thanks to the international sanctions placed upon it after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is seeking to retaliate with a raft of sanctions on American political figures including President Joe Biden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The sanctions were announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry in a Facebook post.
The gesture is largely symbolic given that it’s unlikely that any of the people on the sanctions list had any sizeable financial holdings in Russia or were planning on going there for a vacation anytime soon.
Responding to the sanctions, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a press briefing today that since President Biden is officially named Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., Russia may have inadvertently sanctioned the president’s deceased father rather than the Bien himself and downplayed the effects of Putin’s retaliatory move.
Psaki: President Biden is a jr. so they may have sanctioned his dad may he Rest In Peace.. It won’t surprise many of you that none of us are planning tourist trips to Russia, none of us have bank accounts we won’t be able to access so we will forge ahead.. pic.twitter.com/rs6s3m2xYM
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 15, 2022
The most amusing reaction to the sanctions, however, came from Hillary Clinton, who has no formal role in the current administration and seemed to be targeted primarily for old times’ sake.
I want to thank the Russian Academy for this Lifetime Achievement Award. https://t.co/4og9S3OCEp
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 15, 2022
With no luxury yachts parked in Russian marinas, no exorbitantly expensive real estate holdings in the country, and no significant investments in Russian businesses, the American targets of Putin’s latest retaliatory sanctions don’t seem like they will suffer as much as the Russian oligarchs and political officials who have had their enormous yachts seized or their pricey London residences occupied by protestors enraged by the invasion of Ukraine.
The disparity in the effects of the countries’ mutual sanctions demonstrates that Vladimir Putin has little he can do besides threatening nuclear annihilation and mutually assured destruction to counter the international isolation that his actions have engendered.
Unfortunately, the people of Ukraine will continue to suffer the deadly results of Russia’s continued aggression, something that is no laughing matter, no matter how risible Putin’s pitiful attempts at payback may be.
Original reporting by Melissa Quinn at CBS News.