President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia, countering Putin’s ‘invasion’ of Ukraine

On Tuesday, President Biden announced that the United States will impose new sanctions on Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two Ukrainian territories on which the Kremlin has laid claim for years. Biden said in an address from the East Room of the White House: “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belongs to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law.”

Biden’s remarks came a day after Putin ordered troops into Donetsk and Luhansk under the guise of “peacekeeping.” However on Tuesday, Biden stated that “there is no justification” for Putin’s aggression in the region saying: “He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. Russia’s moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position on the border. You don’t need blood unless you plan on starting a war.”

Biden said that the sanctions would target two major Russian banks, limiting their ability to finance sovereign debt, and added that the sanctions would extend to Russian elites and their family members. Biden said sanctions were coordinated with U.S. allies and would continue to escalate should Russia pursue war with Ukraine:  “As we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American business and consumers from rising prices at the pump. As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that, but as we do this, I’m going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours.”

The president concluded by saying he’d likely have more to say and that he was “hoping diplomacy was still available.”

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