Biden Announces Sanctions Against Russia, Calls Ukraine Invasion ‘a Flagrant Violation of International Law’

Melanie Arter | February 22, 2022 | 4:59pm EST
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President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House about Russian military activity near Ukraine February 22, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House about Russian military activity near Ukraine February 22, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - President Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. and its allies are implementing “full blocking sanctions” on two of Russia’s banks as well as sanctions on its “sovereign debt.” 

Therefore, the Russian government is cut off from western financing and “can no longer raise money from the West” or “trade in its new debts on our markets or European markets either.”

Furthermore, he said that the Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2 will not go forward.

Yesterday, Vladimir Putin recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states, and he bizarrely asserted that these regions are no longer part of Ukraine and they are sovereign territory. To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine. Last night, Putin authorized Russian forces to deploy into the region, these regions. 

Today, he asserted that these regions are actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Ukraine government. He’s setting up rational to take more territory by force in my view and if we listen to his speech last night, and many of you did I know he’s setting rational to go much further.

This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his duma. Let's begin to – so I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response far beyond the steps we and our allies and partners used in 2014, and if Russia goes further with this invasion we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions. 

Who in the Lord's name does Putin think gives him a right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belong to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community. 

Over the last few months we have coordinated closely with our allies and partners in Europe and around the world to prepare that response. We’ve said all along and I told Putin to his face more than a month ago that we would act together, and the moment Russia moved against Ukraine, Russia now undeniably moved against Ukraine by declaring these independent states. 

So today, I am announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our allies and partners and we’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates. 

We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian institutions - VEB and their military bank. We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia's government from western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debts on our markets or European markets either.

Starting tomorrow, and continuing in the days ahead we will also impose sanctions on Russian elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well. 

Because of Russia’s action, we work with Germany to ensure North Stream 2 will not - as I promised - will not move forward. 

Biden said that Russia “will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions.”

He said the U.S. will “continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine” and “continue to reinforce and reassure our NATO allies.”

“Today, in response to Russia's admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Let me be clear, these are totally defensive moves on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia,” Biden said.

He said that the U.S. with its allies will defend “every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made into NATO.”

“We still believe that Russia’s poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine,” the president said, adding that “Russia has only escalated his threat against the rest of Ukrainian territory including major cities, including the capital city of Kyiv.”

“There are still well over 150,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, and as I said, Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the North, including war planes and offensive missile systems,” Biden warned.

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