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‘Freedom Will Prevail’: Biden Addresses Nation, Refuses To Sanction Putin Or Comment On China
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russian forces attacked targets across Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin ordered an operation to "demilitarize" the country, prompting international condemnation and a U.S. threat of further "severe sanctions" on Moscow, sending markets tumbling worldwide.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than fifteen hours after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden held a press conference in the White House to discuss his administration’s response to Putin’s military attack.

Biden said that Putin acted “without justification,” and that the attack was a “premeditated” one that had been planned for months. Russia had rejected “every good faith effort” made by the U.S. and allies to address “mutual security concerns” through “dialogue,” which would have avoided “needless conflict” and “human suffering.”

Biden gave a brief overview of the assault, including the shelling of Ukraine’s “historic cities,” cyber attacks, and “staged political theater” in Moscow made up of “outlandish and baseless claims” that Ukraine was the aggressor in pursuit of genocide.

The president argued that his administration had shared intel with allies so that there was no “confusion” regarding accountability, before confirming that Putin is the aggressor, and that Putin “chose this war.” Now he and his country will bear the consequences, Biden claimed.

Biden then announced additional sanctions, as well as limitations on what can be exported to Russia, which were “purposefully designed” to “maximize impact” on Russia while minimizing impact on Western allies. These included limiting the ability of Russian groups and companies to do business in “dollars, pounds, euros and yen,” impairing Russia’s ability to compete in the “21st century economy.” Biden noted that the ruble hit its weakest level ever, and that the Russian stock market has plunged, before mentioning several large Russian banks targeted by sanctions, cutting off trillions of dollars worth of assets from the financial system.

“Every asset they have in America will be frozen,” Biden said, adding that Russian “elites” and their families would — as promised — face sanctions themselves, given that these are “people who personally gain from Kremlin’s policies,” and should therefore “share in the pain.”

After the speech, Biden did appear to undermine his own strategy, arguing that no-one expected sanctions to prevent anything from happening.

In addition, Biden did not answer questions from journalists as to why he was refusing to sanction Putin himself.

The goal of further sanctions, Biden argued, is to “squeeze” Russia’s access to finance and technology, which would strike a blow to Russia’s efforts to modernize and compete economically, standing as a “major hit” to Putin’s “long-term strategic ambitions.”

Biden also announced an upcoming NATO summit to “map out” the next steps to further strengthen all aspects of the NATO alliance. In a similar fashion, Biden repeated Tuesday’s statement that the U.S. would not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine, but that the U.S. will “defend every inch of NATO territory with full force.”

While one theme of Biden’s speech involved a cooperative approach with various allies, Biden refused to comment on whether he wanted to pressure China to support the isolation of Russia.

Biden concluded his speech by acknowledging the economic impact of these sanctions on the U.S., adding that he will be “closely monitoring energy supplies,” but that Russia’s aggression “cannot go unanswered.”

“If it did,” Biden said, “the consequences for America would be much worse.”

Biden ended his address by promising a strengthening of protections against Russian cyberattacks, emphasizing that he had faith in the resolve of the Ukrainian people, and that we will “emerge from this stronger, more united, more determined and more purposeful” than before.

“Freedom will prevail,” Biden said.

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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