WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced new sanctions against Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin directing military forces to invade Ukraine, setting off the biggest European crisis since World War II.
Speaking from the White House, Biden slammed Putin for his “naked aggression against Ukraine” and promised Russia would pay the consequences for his actions.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said.
Biden announced a new round of sanctions that includes targeting Russian banks and high profile elites with close ties to Putin, along with freezing every asset Russia has in the U.S.
“Every asset they have in America will be frozen,” Biden said.
The President also announced U.S. forces to be deployed in Germany and said NATO allies would convene a summit on Friday to “map out the next steps.” He additionally doubled down on his comments from earlier in the week, vowing to not send American troops into Ukraine to fight Russia.
“Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict,” he said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east.”
Biden U.S. would defend its NATO allies if Russia advanced beyond Ukraine.
The news comes less than 24 hours after Russian troops invaded Ukraine and 48 hours after Biden announced an initial against Russia on Tuesday after Putin moved troops into breakaway regions in the eastern part of Ukraine.
Thursday’s sanctions did not cut Russia off from SWIFT, a Belgian financial messaging system that links more than 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries and territories. Putin himself was also not sanctioned but Biden did not rule it out when pressed on it by the media.
Biden said that European allies were opposed to blocking Russia from SWIFT but said Thursday’s new set of sanctions was “more consequential” and said they could always revisit this in a month from now.
“The threat of the sanctions … imposing the sanctions and seeing the effect of the sanctions are two different things,” Biden said. “He’s going to begin to see the effect of the sanctions.”
After months of predictions and warnings, Putin on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, marking what seems to be the beginning of a war with the country. He accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and said he was launching military action to protect civilians.
Multiple explosions were heard throughout numerous cities in Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv.
The President said his administration was taking steps to make sure that gas prices would not rise even higher and warned oil and gas companies not to take advantage of the moment to raise prices.
“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling the gas pump. This is critical to me. But this aggression cannot go unanswered,” Biden said.