US President Joe Biden bans Russian diamonds, seafood and vodka

US President Joe Biden has announced a ban on imports of Russian diamonds, seafood and vodka in the latest response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The US, European Union and other allies also plan to revoke Russia’s status as an equal trade partner, paving the way for further economic punishment.

The moves add to sanctions that have isolated Russia economically since the invasion.

Its currency has collapsed, while global firms rush to exit the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has likened Western sanctions on banks and oligarchs to a declaration of war. Moscow has also threatened to nationalise production plants or factories where work has been suspended.

Mr Biden said the latest steps will be “another crushing blow to the Russian economy”.

In addition, Western allies said they planned to cut Russia off from accessing finance from international organisations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“Russia cannot grossly violate international law and expect to benefit from being part of the international economic order,” the G7, a group of seven advanced economies said in a statement.

Mr Biden said he was also barring US exports of luxury goods to Russia, trade worth about $550m per year, and would further sanction oligarchs and their families.

The US ban on key Russian imports will deny Mr Putin more than $1 billion in revenue, the White House said.

That is just a fraction of the roughly $28 billion worth of trade the US and Russia exchanged in 2019.

“We’re going to continue to squeeze Putin,” Mr Biden said. “He is the aggressor and… must pay the price.”

Economists say the sanctions will throw Russia into a severe economic recession this year. But it is not clear that the economic disarray has altered Mr Putin’s military ambitions.