All US senators will have a classified briefing on the Ukraine invasion on Monday

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seen in this June 16, 2021 file photo in Geneva, Switzerland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seen in this June 16, 2021 file photo in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The US will join the European Union in directly sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, the White House confirmed on Friday.

CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Jeremy Herb reported earlier Friday the US was planning to impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin according to two people familiar with the decision.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the decision came following a phone call between President Biden and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

“The United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,” she told reporters. “I expect we’ll have more specific details that later this afternoon.”

Asked what changed between Friday and Thursday, when Biden announced a new round of sanctions that did not include Putin, Psaki said the option had “been under consideration and on the table for some time.”

“The President’s strong view and strong principle from the beginning of this conflict, and even before I should say, has been to take actions and steps in alignment with our European partners, and this is certainly evidence of that,” PSAki said.

The Russian leader will become the highest-profile target in the effort to impose costs on the Russian economy and Putin’s inner circle in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additional Russian officials are likely to be included, one of the people said.

The European Union and United Kingdom also announced they would introduce sanctions targeting Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday.

More background: The decision to target Putin directly across Western allies marks the most personal escalation of a sweeping effort to respond to Russia’s actions through economic penalties. While it’s unclear the extent of the direct effect — officials have long said Putin’s finances are opaque and difficult to track — the symbolism of targeting the Russian leader is clear.

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