WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced new sanctions against Russia, warning that President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine are the “beginnings of a Russian invasion” after Putin’s remarks on Monday.
The sanctions will target Russian bank VEB and Russia’s sovereign debt, blocking all Western financing to the country. The President said the sanctions will also target high-profile Russian elites and their family members in an effort to make sure people close to Putin “share the pain.”
“We still believe that Russia is poised to go much further and launch a massive military attack against Ukraine,” Biden said.
Biden also announced he would move additional troops and equipment to “strengthen” US allies in the Baltic nations on NATO’s eastern flank but made clear the United States has no interest to “fight Russia.”
The President also continued to say he is holding out hope that diplomacy could still defuse the crisis but it is getting difficult to see exactly how that will pan out after Putin’s latest moves.
“The United States and our allies and partners remain open to diplomacy if it is serious,” he said. “When all is said and done, we’re going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words.”
Biden slammed Putin for his decision, saying the Russian leader was violating international laws and putting pressure on the West.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community,” Biden said.
Biden added Putin’s speech was “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view.”
Over 150,000 Russian troops continue to surround the Ukraine border and have military equipment, medical and blood supplies near the border.
“You don’t need blood unless you plan on starting a war,” Biden said.
Putin formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine on Monday, ordering troops just hours later in what he called “peacekeeping functions.”
The decision by Putin was seen by the United States and its European allies as another step towards a war with Ukraine and it raised concerns that Russia could soon move farther into Ukrainian territory.
“As Russia contemplates this next move, we have our next move prepared as well,” Biden warned. “Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Tuesday he would stop the approval process for Nord Stream 2, which delivers Russian gas to Germany.
Biden pointed out the fallout from a Russian invasion could be felt in the U.S. with Americans seeing rising prices at the pump in the coming months.
“As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs, for us as well and here at home,” Biden said. “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.”