Biden unveils Russia sanctions, cites ‘invasion’

President Joe Biden said the U.S. will impose a first tranche of sanctions on Russia and shifting American forces already based in Europe. Biden’s announcement followed earlier sanctions after the European Union and the U.K. set out an initial set of limited penalties targeting Moscow. 

The measures follow a dramatic escalation of tensions triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s recognition of two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, a move that effectively killed eight years of diplomacy. Russia’s upper house on Tuesday gave the green light to Putin to deploy troops to the separatist-held regions. 

The rapid series of events—including Germany’s halting of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project—caps weeks of brinkmanship, with the Kremlin insisting it has no plans for a full-scale invasion. The U.S. issued a series of warnings, citing intelligence, that Russia could invade, incite an event as a pretext to take military action, or launch cyberattacks. 

Biden said the U.S. is imposing sanctions targeting Russia’s sale of sovereign debt abroad and on the country’s “elites and their family members.” In addition, he said he’s shifting American forces in Europe to help bolster Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and warned more sanctions could be coming. 

“Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions,” Biden said in an address from the White House, adding that he thinks Putin’s latest remarks about separatist-held regions a sign that the Russian leader isn’t interested in diplomacy. 

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