In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced new actions by his administration in response to Russia’s increased aggression toward Ukraine.
He said that in partnership with European leaders, the U.S. will impose harsh new sanctions against Russian, including “full blocking” of two large Russian financial institutions. The sanctions also apply to the country’s debt.
“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” he said.
The president also warned that a conflict in Eastern Europe could have repercussions for American citizens, particularly in regard to rising gas prices. (Russia is one of the top three leading oil producers, with roughly 13% of the market.)
“As I said last week, defending freedom will have cost for us as well. And here at home, we need to be honest about that,” said Biden, adding that his administration is focused on finding ways to mitigate any cost increases at the gas pump.
“We’re closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption,” he said. “We’re executing a plan in coordination with major oil producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies.”
The U.S. economy is already experiencing record high inflation. Consumer prices rose by 7.5% in January compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was up from the 7% growth in December and represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in February 1982.
While energy commodities such as gasoline and fuel have experienced some of the largest increases, the costs of everyday items like footwear have also risen. Shoe prices grew 6% in January year-over-year, according to data from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). This marks one of the fastest gains in decades.
So far, price inflation has not yet deterred consumer spending in the U.S., which rose 13% year-over-year in January to total $649.8 billion.