US steps up pressure on Russia over Ukraine invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday will call for an end of normal trade relations with Russia and clear the way for increased tariffs on Russian imports as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, five people familiar with the matter said.

Washington's moves to tighten the screws on Moscow come as U.S. and European officials accuse Russia of war crimes over its bombardment of civilians in Ukrainian cities, amid repeated violations of ceasefires which each side blames on the other.

Satellite images showed a Russian military column threatening Kyiv from the north had dispersed to new positions, private U.S. company Maxar Technologies (MAXR.N) said, possibly in preparation for an assault on the capital.

Removing Russia's status of "Permanent Normal Trade Relations" with the United States would significantly escalate pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two. The move would be coordinated with G7 countries and require an act of Congress, one source said. Lawmakers in both houses of Congress have expressed support.