Several days ago I was listening to an interview and a part of it was along the following lines:
- Reporter: how can the US (NATO) and EU prevent Russia from waging war on Ukraine? It is clear that current sanctions that are in place for many years were not enough.
- Analyst: (besides other arguments) to put pressure on the main Putin's supporting oligarchs by suggesting significant financial loss to them (not only to Russia as a state) should Russia starts the war
Wikipedia mentions the fact that Putin managed to stay in power with the support of several oligarchs:
Between 2000 and 2004, Putin apparently engaged in a power struggle with some oligarchs, reaching a "grand bargain" with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain their powers, in exchange for their explicit support of – and alignment with – Putin's government
I have also read the possible NATO responses to an invasion from this answer, but none seem to be the idea mentioned by the analyst.
I have found this press release mentioning that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned four individuals engaged in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilize Ukraine, but this is far from sanctioning billionaires supporting Putin.
I am wondering if US, UK and EU have any sort of mechanism to incur serious financial consequences to Putin's oligarchs. UK would be an interesting case because it seems to hold quite a few oligarchs commuting between London and Russia:
A significant number of Russian oligarchs have bought homes in upmarket sections of London (..) Most own homes in both countries, as well as property and, have acquired controlling interests in major European companies. They commute on a regular basis between the EU and Russia; in many cases, their families reside in London, with their children attending school there.