Biden denounces Putin's actions in Ukraine

WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday denounced Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and his “grim vision for the future of our world,...


WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday denounced Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and his “grim vision for the future of our world,” promising that Mr. Putin and his country would pay as the United States imposes a new round of sanctions economic against Russia. invasion of Ukraine.

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war,” Biden said in brief remarks from the White House. “And now he and his country will suffer the consequences.”

Just hours after Russian missiles and bombs began raining down on Ukrainian cities, starting Europe’s first major ground war in more than 70 years, Mr Biden lashed out at the Russian leader in language reminiscent of the Ronald Reagan’s 1983 speech on the Soviet Union, in which the former president denounced the “aggressive impulses of an evil empire”.

On Thursday, Mr Biden said: “Now the whole world sees clearly what Putin and his Kremlin allies really are. It was never a real security issue on their part. It was still naked aggression, Putin’s desire for empire, by any means necessary.

Mr Biden said he had authorized more troops to be sent to Eastern European countries in the NATO alliance. While he again swore that American troops would not engage with Russia in Ukraine, he said the United States would come to the aid of its NATO allies if Russia moved outside the borders of the Ukraine.

“The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power,” he said.

The United States has cut off Russia’s main banks and some of its biggest companies from Western financial markets, Mr Biden announced, and restricted technology exports to Russia. He said economic actions will significantly degrade Russia’s ability to prosper in the weeks, months and years to come.

Mr. Biden also said the United States had frozen billions of dollars in Russian assets, including funds controlled by Russian elites and their families, seeking to make them pay for what Mr. Biden called “an attack brutal attack on the Ukrainian people without provocation, without justification, without necessity.

The president did not order economic sanctions against Mr. Putin himself and he refused to answer questions about the decision. And he said European allies had resisted taking further steps to block Russia’s access to a global financial network known as the Quicknoting that “at this time, this is not the position the rest of Europe wishes to take”.

Mr. Biden was on the defensive about his strategy – exposed publicly many times in recent weeks – to prevent a Russian invasion by threatening Mr. Putin with severe sanctions. In his remarks on Thursday, Mr Biden denied that the strategy had failed, despite the ongoing large-scale assault in Ukraine.

“Nobody expected the sanctions to stop anything from happening,” Biden told reporters.

But Mr. Biden and his top aides have been emphasizing deterrence for weeks. On February 11, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said that “the president believes the sanctions are meant to deter.” Six days later, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said he was at the United Nations “not to start a war, but to prevent one.”

Asked on Thursday whether the administration thought the strategy of using sanctions could have prevented the Russian attack, Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser, told reporters that economic sanctions generally influence the leaders because of the impact on the standard of living of their people.

“In this case, Putin made the wrong choice,” Mr Singh said.

Mr. Biden appeared to change his reasoning to use economic sanctions, predicting that they would squeeze the Russian economy over time and force Mr. Putin to withdraw his military forces before too much damage is inflicted on Ukrainians.

“It’s going to take time,” Mr. Biden said. “He will test the West’s resolve to see if we stick together and we will.”

Mr Biden acknowledged that the conflict in Eastern Europe would be felt at home. White House officials have warned for days that economic sanctions against Russia could drive up oil prices, even as the United States grapples with soaring inflation.

“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that Americans are feeling at the gas pump,” he said. “It is essential for me. But this aggression cannot go unanswered.

“America stands up to bullies,” he added. “It’s who we are.”

But even though Mr Biden suggested it was “highly unlikely” that Americans would feel economic hardship “for any length of time” as a result of the sanctions, he also acknowledged that the sanctions would not immediately stop Mr Putin from suing his army. aggression.

“The sanctions we imposed got two-thirds of the world to join us. These are deep sanctions,” he said. “Let’s have a conversation in about a month to see if they work.”

Mr. Biden’s speech made it clear that the focus of the sanctions had changed following Mr. Putin’s invasion, according to William B. Taylor Jr., a longtime diplomat who served as acting ambassador to Ukraine under the Trump administration.

“He wasn’t deterred and he may not be deterred,” Mr Taylor said of the Russian leader. “And now the sanctions are aimed at weakening its economy to make it harder for it to continue this war. Wars take resources and the sanctions are designed to hurt his economy so he can’t continue the war.

But Mr. Taylor agreed with Mr. Biden’s assessment that these economic sanctions were unlikely to provide an immediate reprieve for those on the ground. “Ukrainians are here for the long haul,” Taylor said.

Richard Fontaine, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security and former foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain, said “the effort to deter an invasion has failed.” But he added that the economic sanctions Mr Biden announced on Thursday could still be an important tool “in imposing the cost on Putin”.

“What you’re trying to do is at least reduce the appetite he’ll have for trying to do this stuff,” Fontaine said. “Although I’m skeptical about that too.” He added that Mr. Biden would face a choice in the coming weeks about whether to support a possible insurgency in Ukraine.

The administration would most likely remain focused on NATO countries close to Ukraine, where Mr. Biden is deploying US troops, Mr. Fontaine said.

“So much hinges on this uncertainty about the endgame they’re aiming for here,” he said of Mr Putin.

Mr Biden reiterated on Thursday that US troops would not fight in Ukraine, but warned that if Russian forces enter NATO allies, “we will be involved”.

“The only thing that worries me is that if we don’t stop him now, he will be emboldened,” the president added.

Earlier Thursday, Mr. Biden met with his national security team in the Situation Room. The officials said they discussed “how we are going to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unwarranted attack on Ukraine.” He also met by video with the leaders of the Group of 7 nations in a bid to coordinate the global response.

Mr. Biden had for weeks threatened harsh sanctions that could cripple the Russian economy, in the hope that Mr. Putin backed off from his plan to invade his neighbour. Earlier this week, Mr. Biden authorized the start of these sanctions when the Russian leader declared his intention to go to war.

But the president and his European allies withheld the most aggressive sanctions and warned Mr Putin that the penalty would increase if his tanks crossed the Ukrainian border.

In his speech on Thursday, Mr. Biden said the new actions would go further, in part by imposing restrictions intended to cut off Russia’s access to technologies such as semiconductors, computers, lasers and telecommunications equipment.

The aim is to reduce or even cripple the industries Mr. Putin cares about, including defence, aerospace and shipping. The new restrictions would prohibit the sale to Russia of underlying technologies manufactured outside the United States but based on American technologies or equipment.

These products can no longer be exported to Russia, he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden denounces Putin's actions in Ukraine
Biden denounces Putin's actions in Ukraine
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