The President of the United States announced this Tuesday afternoon, February 22, tough sanctions against Russia for the military advance of its troops inside the territory of Ukraine. Joe Biden said that no Russian institution will be able to carry out financial transactions in the West and that the United States and Europe are ready to respond if Putin decides to move forward with his offensive.
The U.S. president announced from the White House the first package of sanctions against Putin’s government after the Russian parliament authorized the president to use force outside Russian territory.
“We’re implementing full-blocking sanctions on two large Russian institutions: VEB and their military bank,” Biden said. “We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’ government from western financing. They can no longer raise money from the west and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”
The U.S. president said that in addition to financial institutions, the sanctions also target corrupt Russian ‘elites’ and their families who share responsibility for allowing the situation to worsen.
European leaders made a similar announcement on Monday morning as well.
Biden said he and European leaders are working together to confront Putin and are willing to continue sanctions if the situation escalates.
“If Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions,” Biden said. “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.”
According to Politico, Putin ‘recognized’ the claims of rebels in Donbass and Luhanks calling for Ukrainian independence of these territories and sent troops to ‘keep the peace’ while the situation is resolved.
“We have recognized all their fundamental documents — including their constitutions, which describe their borders as those of the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts [regions] when they were part of Ukraine,” Putin said.
Putin once again assured the media that he is willing to assist the claims of rebels who want Ukrainian independence, even if it triggers an armed conflict.
The U.S.-imposed sanctions come a day after Germany announced the cancellation of the NordStream 2 gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe, a move the German prime minister had previously ruled out.
Biden said economic sanctions on Russia could impact Americans’ pocketbooks particularly on the price of fuel that already suffered considerable hikes over the past year and this one, due to Russia being a major importer of fuel to Europe.
“As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well and here at home. We need to be honest about that,” Biden said at the White House.
However, Biden assured that they are trying to coordinate with fuel suppliers to avoid a supply disruption that would impact consumers.
The American president once again made it clear that the United States does not want an armed conflict and that its actions are defensive.
“I hope diplomacy is still available,” Biden said before ending his announcement.