Ukraine Crisis: What Happens Next for the Rest of the World?

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Administration officials have studied how sanctions would affect each of the big banks, including Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s two largest banks. Sberbank has about a third of the assets in the country’s banking sector, and VTB has more than 15 percent. Some experts are skeptical that the administration would put those two banks on the S.D.N. list for fear of the consequences for the Russian and global economies. For now, U.S. officials are not ready to cut off all Russian banks from Swift, the important Belgian money transfer system used by more than 11,000 financial institutions worldwide.

The Treasury Department has other sanctions lists that would impose costs while inflicting less widespread suffering. For example, it could put a bank on a list that prevents it from doing any transactions involving dollars. Many international commercial transactions are done in U.S. dollars, the currency that underpins the global economy.

The Treasury Department…

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