Biden denounces Putin for Russian invasion of Ukraine and announces new sanctions
President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would impose new sanctions on Russia and President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The new sanctions will target four more Russian banks, “corrupt billionaires” and their families, as well as certain sectors of the economy. He also announced U.S. will impose controls on exports to the country. Biden said that the sanctions would not include cutting Russia out of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, stating that the sanctions that were imposed on Russian banks have equal or even greater consequences.
“Today, I’m authorizing additional strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia,” Biden said. “This is going to impose a severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time. We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia, and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies.”
“Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” the president added.
The president added that he has now sanctioned Russian banks that together hold around $1 trillion in assets. And that the new sanctions have cut off Russia’s largest bank, which holds more than one third of Russia’s banking assets by itself, from U.S. financial systems.
Biden also announced a new deployment of ground and air forces to NATOs Eastern flank allies—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania— and authorized additional NATO forces to deploy to Germany. Even with these new response plan, however, the president emphasized that American troops would not engage in direct conflict in Ukraine.
“Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the East,” Biden said. “As I made crystal clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power.”
In his remarks, Biden referred to Putin as an “aggressor” and a “tyrant,” adding that the American financial sanctions would be as devastating as the Russian bullets and tanks in Ukraine. He added that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine springs from a desire to recreate the former Soviet Union, which he denounced as regressive.
“He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about. And I think that his ambitions are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.”
When asked if Putin was threatening America with a nuclear strike, Biden responded: “I have no idea what he’s threatening. I know what he has done. And we have to show resolve.”
Biden announced his first round of sanctions against Russia earlier this week, targeting two major Russian banks— Vnesheconombank and Promsvyazbank— as well as five prominent Russian individuals with ties to Putin. However, Russia seems to have been preparing for some level of sanctions, and Putin has taken steps to prepare.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted stock markets around the world, as well as crypto markets. Russia’s stock market experienced the fifth worst plunge in history on Friday, and the MOEX Russia Index closed 33% lower at the end of the day, wiping out $189 billion in wealth. And U.S. tech stocks also took a hit on Thursday morning, with shares of Meta, Apple, Microsoft all plunging before gaining back some lost ground as the day wore on. Cryptocurrency markets, which were previously thought to be “save havens” during chaotic events, also took heavy losses, and lost $150 billion in value over a 24 hour period following Russia’s invasion.
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