The US imposed sanctions after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine.
New Delhi: The US administration and the White House slapped sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as part of Washington's efforts to ramp up pressure on Moscow following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The rare but not unprecedented US move to impose sanctions on a head of state would come close on the heels after Russian forces invaded Ukraine. This is being billed as the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.
Meanwhile, the Russian foreign ministry has reacted strongly to such moves. The imposition of sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reflects the West's "absolute impotence" regarding foreign policy, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also announced similar punitive measures.
The United States, in the past, imposed sanctions on heads of state, including on Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and Bashar al-Assad of Syria. It also imposed sanctions on Russia's two biggest banks, among others, and members of the elite.