Joe Biden Announces New Russia Sanctions As More Troops Sent To Eastern Europe

Following Russia's deployment into Ukraine, the president said the US and allies do not want to fight Russian forces but see their actions as an alarming violation.

The US is imposing sanctions on Russia and redeploying troops within Europe to respond to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to call for the breakup of Ukraine and sending the army into that country, Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territories that belong to his neighbours?” the US president asked.

Biden said the sanctions would hit two key Russian banks and make it harder for Moscow to raise money by selling its sovereign debt. Meanwhile, the US force movements would reposition American soldiers from elsewhere in Europe into Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ― countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union but have since become democracies and American allies as part of the NATO military alliance.

“We have no intention of fighting Russia,” Biden said. “We want to send an unmistakeable message, though, that the United States and our allies will defend every inch of NATO territory.”

The US views Putin’s move in Ukraine as an invasion. The West plans to soon unveil further steps to punish Russia and deter further escalation.

“As Russia contemplates its next move, we have our next move prepared as well,” Biden said. “The United States will continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine.”

Washington is also moving to sanction wealthy Russians close to Putin and their family members, the president added.

Biden’s remarks came after Putin said the separatists should control a much larger portion of Ukraine than they already do, possibly signalling that Russian troops will fight the Western-backed Ukrainian army to capture new territory and set off a longer, bloodier conflict. Russia has also begun evacuating its diplomatic facilities in Ukraine.

The US is not obligated to defend Ukraine, but American officials and national security experts say a Russian-led upheaval of the status quo in Europe would endanger NATO states and would drive long-term instability. As Putin has amassed over 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders in recent months, NATO members have sent military support to Ukraine and reinforced their own forces in Russia’s neighborhood. Russia says NATO must withdraw from countries on its periphery — despite their independence — and promise to never accept Ukraine as a member.

Earlier in the day, NATO member Germany said it would halt a pipeline project that would have let Russia earn millions of dollars by pumping gas across Europe. Berlin’s move vindicated the Biden administration’s strategy of warm, close cooperation with American allies — undercutting Republicans’ claims that the president must intensely pressure European nations like Germany.

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday that her country wants to remain united with its friends and show “a stop sign” to Russia.

Earlier, Boris Johnson slapped sanctions on five Russian banks and three “high net wealth” individuals amid fears over a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister described Russian troops sent into the Donbas region under the guise of “peacekeepers” as a “renewed invasion” of Ukraine.

Johnson accused Putin of having “flagrantly violated” the Minsk peace agreement reached after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

He told the Commons: “The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.

“And by denying Ukraine’s legitimacy as a state and presenting its very existence as a mortal threat to Russia, Putin is establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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