In a much-awaited press conference on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing “invasion” of Ukraine by Russia.
Biden called Putin’s claims regarding Ukraine’s sovereignty “bizarre,” and that Russia is in the process of “carving out” a “big chunk of Ukraine,” and are “setting up a rationale” for taking more territory by force.
The president then announced that in response, the U.S. would be imposing sanctions “far beyond” those implemented in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea.
“Who, in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new, so called, countries?” Biden asked, calling Putin’s latest actions an example of “flagrant” violations of international law which require a “firm response” from Western allies.
Sanctions, which Biden said were “closely coordinated with allies and partners,” included full blocking sanctions against two Russian financial institutions, and efforts to cut off the Russian government from Western debt, financing, and markets. This would prevent Russia from raising money from the West, and could be strengthened if necessary, Biden argued.
Biden also said that sanctions would be imposed on “elites” and their family members, noting that they too share in the corruption of the Russian government. The president then confirmed that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project would not move forward, and that Russia would pay an even steeper price if aggression continued.
Biden also discussed additional defensive moves and support for Ukraine, authorizing U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen Baltic allies. He emphasized that these were “defensive” moves, and that he had “no intention of fighting Russia.” Instead, Biden said that he wanted to send an “unmistakable” message, one which included the promise to defend NATO territory.
Despite these sanctions, Biden stated that he believes Russia is “poised” to go much further, with the president saying that he hopes he is wrong. He also acknowledged a concern that sanctions could have a broader effect on the U.S. and world economy — with one outcome being increased gas prices — and that efforts would be made to target Russia specifically.
Biden concluded by arguing that Putin had not counted on Western nations “working in unison,” that the Russian president had directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist, and that while Biden remains open to serious diplomacy, Russia should be judged on its actions, not its words.
The U.S. is ready to respond with “unity, clarity, and conviction,” Biden said, before leaving without taking questions from the media.
This press conference came hours after the White House officially labeled Russia’s troop movements as an “invasion.”
“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said on Tuesday morning, according to the Associated Press. “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
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