Biden calls Putin's actions 'the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine'

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday announced tough new sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for what he called “the start of a Russi...


WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday announced tough new sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for what he called “the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” joining European leaders in imposing severe economic consequences on gross violations of national sovereignty.

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, Mr Biden condemned Russian President Vladimir V. Putin for his aggression against Ukraine, saying the Russian action is “a flagrant violation of international law and demands a response firm of the international community”. ”

Mr Biden said the United States is imposing a “total blockage” on two major Russian financial institutions and “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian debt.

“It means we have cut off the Russian government from Western finance,” he said. “He can no longer raise money from the West, nor can he trade his new debt in our markets or in European markets.”

He also said the United States would impose sanctions on Russian elites and their families, an effort to ensure that those closest to Mr Putin do not escape financial hardship that is expected to hit average Russian citizens hard.

Mr Biden delivered his speech less than a day after Mr Putin issued an executive order sending troops to two separatist-held areas in Ukraine. Russia’s parliament on Tuesday authorized the use of military force abroad, taking a step closer to what Western officials fear could be a full-scale assault on Ukraine.

Western leaders said Russian troops had already entered Ukraine in what the president called an “invasion”.

“Who in the name of the Lord does Putin think give him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors?” Mr. Biden asked during his remarks.

But as the tough global response takes shape, Mr. Biden and his counterparts have struggled to balance the need to take quick and tough action while preserving the possibility of even tougher sanctions against Russia if Mr. Putin was aggravating the conflict by trying to capture the whole conflict. country – a war that could kill tens of thousands of people.

Mr Biden has said he would increase sanctions against Mr Putin if Russia goes further than it already has.

“Russia has now undeniably acted against Ukraine,” he said. “Today I am announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia.”

He added: “We will continue to escalate sanctions if Russia steps up.”

Germany announced on Tuesday that it was suspending certification of a gas pipeline linking it to Russia. The UK government has said it will sanction members of the Russian parliament who voted to recognize the independence of breakaway areas and create legislation ensuring that no UK individual or company can do business with them. regions, Donetsk and Luhansk.

“This is the first installment, the first barrage of what we are ready to do,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament on Tuesday.

In the United States, Jon Finer, Mr Biden’s deputy national security adviser, said Russian forces had started entering Ukraine, telling CNN that “an invasion is an invasion, and that’s what which is in progress”. But he and Mr Johnson shared the same sentiment, saying ‘we have always envisioned waves of sanctions that would unfold over time in response to what action Russia is actually taking’.

Two European officials said on Tuesday that Russia had sent troops to the region, but the Russian Foreign Ministry denied doing so.

Mr Putin has remained defiant in the face of global condemnations of his decision to recognize the independence of the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk created after Russia fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

In what sounded like an ultimatum, he demanded that Ukraine recognize Russia’s claim to Crimea and give up its advanced weapons.

A Deputy Defense Minister, Nikolai Pankov, said Ukraine had mustered 60,000 troops to attack Russian-backed separatist enclaves in the east of the country – a move Ukraine denies it intends to take. take.

“The negotiations are at an impasse,” Pankov said in a televised speech. “Ukrainian leaders have taken the path of violence and bloodshed.”

There were no immediate signs of a major military escalation in eastern Ukraine, but fearful Ukrainians boarded buses out of breakaway areas as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his beleaguered nation to “keep a cool head” in the crisis.

Mr Zelensky insisted that Ukraine would not cede territory, and his defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, appeared to be preparing his country’s troops for battle.

“A difficult trial awaits us,” Reznikov said in a grim message released by the military. “There will be losses. You will have to go through pain and overcome fear and discouragement.

A day earlier, Mr. Putin gave a long, fiery speech that described Ukraine as part of Russia, calling the government in Kiev a “puppet” of the United States and its leaders solely responsible for any “bath of blood” that might follow. .

“As for those who have captured and maintain power in Kiev,” he said, referring to the Ukrainian capital, “we demand that they cease all military action immediately.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden calls Putin's actions 'the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine'
Biden calls Putin's actions 'the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine'
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