Biden Slaps Heavy Sanctions on Russia

He says Putin's moves are the 'beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2022 3:25 PM CST
Biden Slaps Heavy Sanctions on Russia
President Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Biden says Russia is being hit with heavy sanctions for moves on Ukraine the US considers a "flagrant violation of international law." The president said a "first tranche" of sanctions will include "full blocking" of two major financial institutions and sanctions on Russian debt, as well as sanctions on the country's elite and their family members, the Washington Post reports. "That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western finance,” Biden said, per the AP. "It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either." The EU has also moved to place sanctions on Russia and Germany has suspended approval of a major pipeline project.

Biden said Russia's actions—including the deployment of troops to two rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine that Moscow recognized as independent states Monday—are the beginning of an invasion. "Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives them the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belong to his neighbors?” the president said said. "This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community." He said that while the US "has no intention of fighting Russia," he has authorized "defensive moves" including the deployment of American troops already in Russia to the Baltic states bordering Russia.

In remarks that the Guardian describes as a "dry explanation" with "explosive consequences," Vladimir Putin confirmed Tuesday that Russia will support the territorial claims of Donetsk and Luhansk, the territories it recognized Monday. The claims go far beyond the line of control between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces, suggesting Russia plans to move forces further into Ukraine. Putin declined to say whether he would send troops into more Ukrainian territory. He said "difficult questions" could be resolved with negotiations between the "current Kyiv government" and leaders of the rebel-held territories, though Kyiv has no history of direct negotiations with the separatist leaders. (More Ukraine stories.)

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