THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MODERATOR: Good morning, and welcome to this Washington Foreign Press Center briefing about U.S. sanctions against Russia. My name is Bill Martin and I’ll be the moderator. And now it’s my pleasure to welcome our three distinguished briefers. In the middle, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery; on her right, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Erik Woodhouse; and on her left, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Affairs Gonzalo Suarez.
DAS Montgomery, DAS Woodhouse, and Acting DAS Suarez will discuss the sanctions the United States has imposed on the Russian Federation in close coordination with our allies and partners on account of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine. This briefing is on the record. It is being livestreamed. After we hear from our three briefers, we’ll begin the question-and-answer session. This briefing will end no later than 10:30. The FPC will post the transcript of this briefing and the video afterwards on our website, which is fpc.state.gov.
And with that, I’m going to turn the floor over to DAS Montgomery, then DAS Woodhouse, and then Acting DAS Suarez. DAS Montgomery, if you could please start us off.
MS MONTGOMERY: Great, thanks so much. Nice to see all of you this morning. And I’m really grateful as always to share the platform with my colleagues, DAS Erik Woodhouse and DAS Gonzalo Suarez, to discuss the sanctions that the United States has imposed on the Russian Federation. My colleagues will speak to the details of those actions, but first I want to make just a few general points.
Since Russia’s February 24th full-scale invasion, we have continued delivering on our unwavering, unified commitment to support the people of Ukraine, including building on our unprecedented sanctions to hold President Putin and his enablers accountable. These measures are the result of continued close cooperation with our allies and partners, including the EU and its member states, G7 countries, and partners in the Indo-Pacific. We are grateful for the coordination and solidarity of our allies and partners in support of Ukraine’s political independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and importantly, for the significant sanctions they have each put in place to hold the Kremlin accountable.
First, turning to the support that we have provided Ukraine. With funding from the two Ukraine supplemental appropriations bills totaling over $53 billion, we are concurrently supporting the people of Ukraine through security, humanitarian, economic, and governance assistance. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the United States has provided approximately $12.5 billion in assistance in these sectors. The United States is providing more than $1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to refugees, the displaced, and vulnerable populations and communities in the region this year, including 368 million announced just a few days ago.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, the United States has provided a total of $4 billion in budget support to the Government of Ukraine through World Bank mechanisms. We intend to work with Congress to provide the Government of Ukraine with an additional $4.5 billion in direct budget support over the next five months as it continues to fight the Russian invasion. Using funds from the first and second Ukraine supplemental appropriations and working with Congress, we also intend to spend over $900 million more to support the continuity of Ukraine’s government, strengthen societal resilience and civilian security forces, and hold Russia accountable for its actions.
On security assistance, the United States has provided approximately $8 billion in military assistance since the beginning of the Biden administration, including via 15 presidential drawdown authority packages to provide arms and equipment from U.S. stocks. Simultaneously, we are coordinating with our allies and partners to ensure that the Russian Government feels the compounding effects of our economic restrictions and robust sanctions.
As we enter the fifth month of this war, it is important to reflect that we were clear in the run-up to the war and since that if Putin unleashed this invasion, there would be consequences of an order of magnitude different than what we had imposed in 2014 when Russia seized Crimea and began its first invasion of eastern Ukraine. And we have followed through on that pledge. The sanctions and export controls that we have implemented since Russia’s February full-scale invasion are of an order of magnitude different than anything we’ve done before. For example, we haven’t sanctioned the central bank of a G20 country before. We have seen over 700 private-sector companies leave Russia and rethink both short and long-term investments there, including in the energy sector, a vital pillar for Russia’s economy.
According to the World Bank, the Russian economy is projected to contract by 11.2 percent, the steepest contraction Russia has seen in nearly 30 years. The cumulative impact of the measures we have collectively taken with our allies and partners will compound over time and will erode Russia’s economic growth. The export controls we have put in place will weaken Russia’s defense and technology-related sectors. We are continuing to work closely with our allies and partners to take further action to crack down on sanctions evasion, increase pressure on Putin and his enablers, and promote accountability for entities and individuals implicated in the Russian Federation’s abuses and atrocities in Ukraine.
These sanctions will continue to add to the extensive economic measures that are imposing significant costs on Russia for its unprovoked war against Ukraine. So far, the United States has added 1,000 parties to Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, and over 300 parties have been added to Commerce’s Entity List, and my colleagues will discuss this in greater detail in a moment.
So, in closing, our goal is straightforward. We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against Russian aggression. If Russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions, it will send a message to other would-be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries with little or no consequence. We will continue working together with our allies and partners, delivering on our unwavering, unified commitment to support Ukraine and build on our unprecedented sanctions to hold President Putin and his enablers accountable.
We don’t know when this war will be over, but we know this: Ukraine will emerge victorious, and the war will result in a strategic failure for Russia. And the United States will continue to stand united with Ukraine, and with our partners in Europe and beyond who are supporting Ukraine, for as long as it takes.
Thanks very much, and I look forward to answering your questions.
MODERATOR: DAS Woodhouse?
MR WOODHOUSE: Thank you. Thank you, Molly. Thank you to the Foreign Press Center for the opportunity to be here, to all of you who have joined us here in the room and online. I’m grateful for the chance to be with you here today and talk more about our work to impose costs on Russia in response to its heinous war against Ukraine.
Thanks to the strong and united action by the United States and our partners and allies, we’ve been able to impose swift and sweeping sanctions that have had significant impact. The fact that we’ve acted together with partners and allies around the world has enabled us to impose significant costs and limits on Russia and to degrade its ability to prosecute this war and to project power in the years ahead.
By acting together, we have shown that our response is not motivated by any one country’s foreign policy or economic objectives. Rather, we are defending our shared principles – our opposition to aggression and to widespread violence against civilians, and our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and to a rules-based global order.
As long as Russia continues this war of choice, the United States will work with our partners to continue to impose these severe costs and intensify the economic pressure and isolation that Russia faces.
Let me highlight a few aspects of the measures that we’ve imposed.
First, we have targeted Russia’s financial sector and key sources of revenue that sustain President Putin’s war machine. We’ve sanctioned Russia’s largest financial institutions and major state investment funds, and our partners in Europe have removed many of these banks from the SWIFT system that is critical to cross-border payments. By working with our partners, we’ve been able to immobilize a substantial part of the hard currency reserves of the Central Bank of Russia.
Second, we have degraded Russia’s defense sector and other critical sectors feeding its military-industrial complex. We’ve designated major Russian defense companies as well as a long and growing list of other companies and individuals associated with Russia’s defense sector and weapons manufacturing. We’ve coupled these actions with extensive export controls that cut Russia off from critical goods that it needs to sustain the military. My colleague DAS Suarez will address some of these measures in more detail.
Third, we have targeted Russia’s oligarchs and their networks and assets, as well as hundreds of Russia’s political, financial, and corporate leaders. These elites have supported and benefitted from their association with the Kremlin and must continue to be held to account.
In sum, our actions have severed Russia’s ties to major trading partners, halted access to important inputs, and have had a major impact on Russia’s economy. In the span of a few months, U.S. exports to Russia, including critical technology inputs needed to maintain the Russian military, have decreased precipitously. Russia’s imports of good from around the world could fall by up to half, and factories across Russia are struggling to maintain production. As my colleague mentioned, Russia’s GDP will likely decline by double digits, and inflation is expected to reach almost 16 percent.
Our measures will continue to sap Putin’s military-industrial complex of critical components, prevent the Russian central bank’s foreign reserves from propping up an ailing economy, and deprive Moscow of their resources needed to wage this war. Effectiveness of our measures will only compound over time to further isolate Russia from the world economy.
Let me touch base on a couple of other aspects of how we’ve approached and designed our sanctions regime.
In one recent important development, G7 leaders recently announced their intent to consider a mechanism that would limit the price of Russian oil and petroleum products by prohibiting services supporting the maritime transport of Russian oil or petroleum products unless they are purchased below a price cap. This statement by G7 leaders was an important step.
Our goal in this effort is to maintain the supply of oil to the global market and tamp down prices while also reducing the profits that Russia would use to fund its war in Ukraine. The flow of Russian oil into the global market has slowed, but prices per barrel of oil have risen. This boosts Russia’s profits and increases energy prices in the U.S. and around the world.
The most effective way to ratchet up the pressure on Russia is to restrict the revenue it generates from energy sales while maintaining stable energy supply rather than restricting the flow of oil exports. Allowing Russia to trade expensive oil only leads to more money leaving the pockets of oil consumers and going into the pockets of Russia’s energy exporters.
This is why President Biden and other G7 leaders are actively exploring a limit on the price of Russian oil, the restrictions on maritime transport services. We’re working with G7 partners and consulting with a range of other countries on a more detailed proposal for how this can be implemented.
Lastly, I’d like to address the impact that Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine is having on food security. Put simply, Russia’s war is exacerbating food insecurity. Russia’s attack has disrupted Ukraine’s agricultural production; it has attacked agricultural land in Ukraine and has destroyed the infrastructure for harvesting, storing, and transporting food supplies.
In addition to its actions in Ukraine, Russia has restricted exports of its own agricultural products, including bans, quotas, and tariffs on a range of important agricultural goods. These restrictions of Russia’s own creation are entirely unrelated to sanctions and are further exacerbating food insecurity around the world.
I want to be absolutely clear: The United States is not sanctioning Russian food or fertilizer. U.S. sanction on Russia explicitly authorize transactions for food and fertilizer, even with sanctioned entities. And the United States wants to see both Russian and Ukrainian grain on the global market to meet urgent needs around the world.
So, with that, I will close. I look forward to taking your questions, and I’ll hand it over to my colleague, DAS Gonzalo Suarez.
MR SUAREZ: Thank you, Erik; thank you, Molly. Thank you to the Foreign Press Center for hosting us this morning, and thanks to everyone for coming to this conference.
I’m going to talk about the response measures and the export control and the defense-related sanctions. In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, the U.S., working with 37 other partners and allies, undertook an extensive sanctions and export control effort designed to, one, impose costs on Russia for its grievous and unlawful actions; two, impede its ability to wage war; and three, slow the further development of its defense sector.
My colleague, DAS Woodhouse, just explained some of the actions we undertook in economic and financial sectors. I’d like to now briefly describe the actions we undertook in the defense industrial area.
First, immediately after the invasion, we worked with our partners and allies to impose the most significant set of export controls imposed on any one country. These controls were broad but targeted. They were designed to deprive Russia of the technology and equipment it needs in its defense industrial sector. These controls will force Russia to seek critical items via nontraditional suppliers at greater financial costs for lesser quality goods and at the risk of law enforcement actions.
Since February, we followed up those export controls with a flurry of sanctions on critical companies in Russia’s defense industrial and technology sectors. To date we have sanctioned dozens of defense and high tech-related companies. These companies were sanctioned because of the important role they play in Russia’s military supplies and R&D. For example, on June 28, Rostec, United Aircraft Corporation, and United Engine Corporation were all sanctioned. These companies are central to Russia’s defense efforts. For example, Rostec is Russia’s most important defense conglomerate. The United Aircraft Corporation builds and maintains all of Russia’s combat aircraft. And the United Engine Corporation develops, produces engines for Russia’s – for Russian weapon systems, including aircraft and naval vessels.
And even before that, on April 28th we announced sanctions on one of Russia’s largest state-owned enterprises, the joint stock company United Shipbuilding Corporation, which is responsible for building Russia’s largest warships. We also sanctioned 28 of its subsidiaries and eight members of its board of directors.
All of these sanctions, taken together, are having an impact. Russia, and in particular Russia’s defense sector, is now one of the most sanctioned destinations with severely compromised supply chains. For example, U.S. exports to Russia, including military and dual-use exports, have decreased by nearly 96 percent since the start of Russia’s invasion in February. Through April, worldwide semiconductor shipments to Russia have dropped by an estimated 90 percent. This means we are having success in cutting off key materials that Russia would otherwise need to support its military endeavors.
These measures will continue over time and will only get worse, and they will deteriorate Putin’s ability to develop Russia’s military-industrial complex. The effectiveness of our measures will compound over time, further isolating Russia from the world economy and debilitating its ability to wage war.
I will conclude my remarks. Thank you again for participating in this press briefing. I look forward to answering questions.
MODERATOR: Thank you, DAS Montgomery, DAS Woodhouse, and DAS Suarez, for those introductory remarks. I’d now like to open the program up for questions. I will take a few questions first from those in the briefing room and then a few questions from those on Zoom. Please raise your hand – virtual hand if you are on Zoom – if you would like to ask a question. If I call on you, please give your name and your outlet.
I believe we had an advance question from you, Rusudan. Did you want to – you had a question you had asked in advance. Should I go ahead and pose it? Yes – yes, I’m sorry.
QUESTION: About Georgia. Oh, thank you. Thank you very much for organizing this. Thank you for having me. I’m Rusa from Georgia [TV Imedi]. I want to ask about the – Georgia, there are some calls from a certain group that the West and U.S. should start working on imposing sanctions against citizens of Georgia. Is the issue of imposing sanctions in Georgia already discussed officially? What can you say about that? And what can you say about maybe you have any advances – advanced – evidences about this sort of thing?
MS MONTGOMERY: Thanks for the question, and just first of all to say that Georgia is a partner of the United States, and we continue to support the people of Georgia on the path to reform. In terms of sanctions, we really don’t preview the actions that we might take. That’s a matter of policy around the world. And so there’s just not much more that I can say there. But thank you.
MODERATOR: Alex [Raufoglu, Turan News]?
QUESTION: Yes. Thank you so much, Bill. And thanks to all three DASes for being here this morning and briefing us on a very crucial topic. Let me start with the first topic that came to my mind as I was listening to DAS Erik. Shifting from freezing to seizing, what are the stats of that? Can you provide us with numbers, how much you have seized or you’re planning to seize? And if possible, how are you planning – envisioning the scenarios of returning them back to Ukraine or spending it on Ukraine’s reconstruction?
Just to follow up on Rusudan’s question, Ambassador (sic) Montgomery, did you – I know there have been several – on several occasions communications with countries right next to Russia – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia recently. Did you have a chance to raise your concerns or possible scenarios if any of them would be influenced by Russia in terms of skirting U.S. sanctions? Do you have any concern; also, did you discuss that with them? Thank you so much.
MR WOODHOUSE: Thank you for those questions. On the first question, the – along with G7 partners, we’ve worked to establish what we call the REPO Task Force – Russian elites, proxies, and oligarchs – a task force that seeks to work with partners around the world in identifying and freezing assets of sanctioned Russian persons. The REPO Task Force I think recently released a statement that summarizes those efforts, including some top-line numbers on the value of assets that have been frozen. I don’t have that number off the top of my head now, but we have made efforts to announce kind of an overall number of – the value of assets that have been frozen.
In terms of your question on seizing assets and using them for the benefit of Ukraine, the process to seize is distinct from the process of freezing assets. I think it will be governed by each country’s legal system. Our White House and Congress have engaged in efforts to expand our authorities to forfeit assets in certain circumstances, so there’s discussions ongoing in that direction. But we’ll have to see where those play out in terms of establishing authorities to do so.
MS MONTGOMERY: And I would just add that I think the conversations that Erik describes – really, for us, this is about understanding that Russia initiated this war, and we shouldn’t have to foot the bill and neither should Ukraine for what will be hundreds of billions of dollars in terms of reconstruction. And so I think we’re looking at all of the options that are available there.
In terms of your question about conversations with countries about potential sanctions evasion, what I can say – so I don’t cover the Caucasus personally, so I am not engaged in most of those conversations. Those are colleagues of mine who I suspect you may know well. But we generally don’t provide sort of the details of diplomatic conversations, but what I can say, broadly speaking, is that we do take evasion very seriously, and it’s a topic that we are following very, very closely around the world. And so certainly, it’s really an area where we’re focusing a lot of attention.
Erik, I don’t know if you want to add anything.
MODERATOR: Okay. Evan [Ingram, Asahi Shimbun]?
QUESTION: I’m interested in the Russian oil cap that was discussed at the G7. I think this is probably most appropriate for Mr. Woodhouse, but anybody, of course, is welcome to answer. Does the U.S. believe that China and India would have to be part of an agreement in order to persuade the EU to adopt the oil cap as policy? And if so, how does that affect the outlook for coming to an international agreement on the oil cap? Thanks.
MR WOODHOUSE: So thanks for that question. Obviously, China and India are important purchasers of Russian oil. I can say that we are engaged most intensively with partners and allies to help design a proposal for how this can work, as well as outreach to countries that we would like to see participate and/or otherwise support the price gap. But I think that’s all I can say for now, the – in terms of our diplomatic discussions with other countries and how they may interact with the price gap.
MS MONTGOMERY: And perhaps I would just add to that that we do see this as an opportunity for countries to do something that is in their national interest, which is to, especially in this era of extremely high energy prices, to pay less for those energy imports and to have a stabler global oil market. And so that’s really the intent, and we think that countries – and I think this has so far been borne out in our conversations broadly speaking – that countries will be interested in having that conversation because it is in all of our interests to have a stable – stable global energy markets. And certainly, individual countries, in this time of crunched budgets because of high energy prices, I think will want to explore opportunities to pay lower prices.
MODERATOR: Okay, thanks. Ivan, I believe you had a question. Did you have a question?
QUESTION: Oh, yes, I do. Thank you so much for taking my question. Ivan Pilshchikov with TASS News Agency.
Well, so some experts say that after U.S. levied so many sanctions against Russia, there are not so many Russian entities to sanction left. Would you agree with that and how it affects decision-making in Washington?
And if I might ask another question: So – well, obviously Western sanctions impose costs on Russia, but do you also think that they impose costs on the U.S.? And if so, could you elaborate on that, what these costs might be financially and otherwise? Thank you so much.
MR WOODHOUSE: So thank you for that question. In terms of the – your first question about the availability of sanctions targets, obviously, as my colleague pointed out, we don’t comment on potential future sanctions actions. I can say we continually identify and evaluate additional targets, and the bottom line is as long as the – Russia’s unprovoked invasion and aggression against Ukraine continues, we will continue to identify those targets, along with partners and allies, to intensify the economic pressure on Russia and on those who are supporting Russia’s war machine. So I do believe there are substantial options to escalate our pressure that we have not yet taken. And as events warrant, we will consider those measures in coordination with our partners and allies, as we’ve done thus far.
In terms of the cost on the United States, I think the United States, but also our partners and allies around the world, have demonstrated an understanding and a commitment to take action that impose costs on Russia, even though we understand that there will be costs for our own economies. The United States has borne some of those costs. Our partners and allies in Europe, who are both closer to and more integrated economically with Russia before the war, I think, face a different and more intense situation, and they have a different set of decisions to make. But I think partners and allies, especially those in Europe, have shown that we all understand those costs and we are – we’ve decided that the circumstances warrant taking action and accepting those costs, because – in order to maintain our united front against Russia’s aggression and to continue to impose costs and force Russia ultimately to make a choice as to how to end this conflict.
MS MONTGOMERY: And I would just add to that I think we have demonstrated incredible unity with our allies and partners not just in Europe, but also in the Indo-Pacific. And so I think that really does demonstrate that while our goal is certainly to maximize the impact on Russia and minimize the impact on our own people, that there is broad understanding not just among governments, but among publics around the world in many, many countries that what is at stake here is certainly about the future of Ukraine – and we strongly support a sovereign, independent Ukraine and its territorial integrity – but it is also about our shared values and that that is something that is worth investing in. And so I think that’s why we have seen this incredible unity even as these measures do become more painful.
And I would also say, just in terms of the impact on Russia, that these measures are designed to be more impactful over time. And so while we will continue to, as Erik said, roll out new targets, we will also, as I mentioned earlier, continue to look at evasion and ensure that the complete package is having its intended effect.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. And now I’d like to take a few questions from those participants on Zoom, so if you have a question on Zoom if you could please raise your hand and I will call on you. I saw we had a question earlier. Yes, Danila Galperovich from Voice of America, if you could please unmute yourself and pose your question. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you very much indeed and thank you for doing this briefing. So my question is: Why the United States did not impose sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, who is by many reports closely associated with Vladimir Putin, as did the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, European Union, and Switzerland? And can we expect such an action? Thank you very much.
MR WOODHOUSE: Thank you for that question. So as previously commented, we won’t – we can’t comment or preview future sanctions actions. I can say we do pay very close attention to targets that have been designated by our partners and allies. And all those associated with President Putin and Russia’s leadership, I think, are individuals who are at risk of being sanctioned and we continue to evaluate all of these targets for – as we move forward.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. And I see we had one additional question on the Zoom. David Nikuradze from TV Rustavi.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Do you hear me?
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is David Nikuradze. I represent Georgian television station Rustavi 2 in Washington, D.C. I have two questions. The Ukrainian officials have accused Georgia in assisting Russia to evade sanctions. I wonder if Washington has any clear evidence to support these allegations.
And my second question is about Russian banks and SWIFT. Ukrainians asked to disconnect all Russian banks from the SWIFT. I wonder if the administration is working on that. Thank you very much.
MS MONTGOMERY: So on Georgia, I would just reiterate what I said earlier, which is really just that we do not preview sanctions actions. Georgia is obviously a strategic partner. We have conversations with Georgian interlocutors regularly, and we continue to support the people of Georgia on their path to reform.
MR WOODHOUSE: And on the second question on SWIFT, so the removal of banks from SWIFT is an action normally led by our partners in the European Union because SWIFT is an entity based in a European Union member state. But I can say that increasing and deepening the pressure on the financial sector is one area and mechanism that we may use to increase pressure over time, so that’s something that is an option going forward, but beyond that, I won’t comment on the specific direction that we might take, or in particular, that our partners in Europe may take in their decision-making.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. I will – not seeing any other questions online, I’ll come back to the briefing room. And Alex, you had a follow-up question?
QUESTION: Thank you so much. See, this is what happens when you have three distinguished panelists in one room with journalists. I will give you a chance, to any of you, whoever wants to take a question: Ukraine is very understandably concerned over Canada’s breaking sanctions by sending the repaired turbine to Germany.
And secondly, just to follow up on Kabaeva question, do you share concerns that United States is behind Europe in terms of sanctioning individuals? So they have more names in the list than we do. Thank you.
MS MONTGOMERY: In terms of the turbine, what I would just say is, first of all, we are united with our allies and partners in our commitment to promoting European energy security, reducing our collective dependence on Russian energy and maintaining pressure on the Kremlin. And so we do support the Canadian Government’s decision to return the turbine to Germany for use in the Nord Stream  pipeline because that will allow Germany and other European countries to replenish their gas supplies – or gas reserves, excuse me – ahead of the upcoming winter. And that will really increase their energy security and resilience and counter Russia’s efforts to weaponize energy, which we have seen already in terms of the reduction of flows through Nord Stream 1.
But more broadly speaking, I would just say that, as we’ve discussed today, we are really committed to working with our allies and partners to reduce our collective dependence on Russian energy, keep up pressure on President Putin, and as we’ve talked about, really to explore ways to further reduce the revenue that President Putin receives from energy imports and thereby curtail his ability to prosecute his unjust – unjustified and brutal war on Ukraine.
And I will also say that we really are active at this moment in terms of working with our European partners just to limit the impact, as we’ve talked about already, of President Putin’s war on global energy markets, and protect our economies and really preserve stability in those markets.
MR WOODHOUSE: And on your second question on the difference in the list of targets, I mean, whenever you have – we work together with partners and allies on joint actions. Sometimes we can move kind of with perfectly synchronized target lists, and other times we – the target lists are going to be different. I think in a program of the scale that we have right now with Russia, you would just inevitably – there will be differences in the specific targets that are pursued on both sides of the Atlantic. This is for a variety of reasons, including how the authorities work and the way that we make designations and the different policy calculations that go into these decisions.
I think what’s most important is when you zoom out and you examine that, in terms of the direction and the intent and the objective of these programs, we are very unified with our partners not only in Europe, but all around the world in terms of where – what we are trying to achieve and how we are trying to achieve those goals. We do remain in close consultation with our partners in Europe and elsewhere on our sanctions development – targeting and policy development – and we do pay attention to where there are gaps. And over time, I think you’ll see those gaps narrow. But I also think that what is most important is that there’s unity with respect to the scale, the strength, and the impact that we’re trying to achieve with our sanctions, and that we are standing together in imposing severe costs for Russia’s unacceptable behavior and aggression in Ukraine.
So that, I think, is the most important takeaway. And then obviously, we’re – we pay close attention to differences over time, but what matters most is that we’re standing together and working together to the same end.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, DAS Montgomery. Thank you, DAS Woodhouse. Not seeing any other questions – well, I have one here, but it’s probably – well, maybe you can raise it with me afterward. I’ll pass it on, [Luidmila Chernova, Sputnik]. Thank you.
So with that, I would just like to bring this question/answer session to a close. And I would just say if you – if you – give you an opportunity, DAS Montgomery, DAS Woodhouse, DAS Suarez, if you have any final comments you’d like to make. Otherwise, we’ll end the session.
MS MONTGOMERY: Just thanks very much for coming. We always appreciate the opportunity to engage in particular with foreign journalists and are happy to follow up.
MR WOODHOUSE: Likewise. Thank you all for being here.
MODERATOR: Okay, and with that, we will end this briefing. I would like to give my special thanks to DAS Montgomery, DAS Woodhouse, and DAS Suarez, for your participation, and also to the journalists who participated here in the briefing room and online. Thank you. This concludes today’s briefing.