Biden Imposes Sanctions on Russia in Retaliation for the Invasion of Ukraine

In News
Russia sanctions

Biden sanctions against Russia in response to the underway invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions, dubbed “swift and severe,” are intended to cut Russia’s government off western financial support. Additionally, the US action is directed at Russia’s elite and their families.

In Summary

• On Tuesday, President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia. President Putin’s decision to send “peacekeeping” forces into Ukraine prompted the sanctions.

• The United States is moving soldiers to NATO member states bordering Russia on the west, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

• Secretary of State Antony Blinken reschedules a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. 

• Germany has suspended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline projects under the Baltic Sea, and the pipeline was meant to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany.

Russia sanctions
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken [COURTESY]

Biden outlines sanctions in retaliation to Russia’s recognition of separatist Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

President Biden imposed new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday in response to President Vladimir Putin’s most recent actions in Ukraine.

“This is the start of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Mr. Biden said at the White House in response to Putin’s decision to send “peacekeeping” forces into Ukraine’s eastern breakaway regions hours after he formally recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent from Ukraine on Monday.

Mr. Biden stated that the sanctions, executed in close coordination with allies and partners, will target two significant Russian banks and the country’s sovereign debt.

“This effectively isolates Russia’s government from Western financing,” the president explained.

According to a White House official, the president’s Tuesday announcement of sanctions would be “fast and tough.” The United States is putting sanctions on Russia’s leadership and family members. A senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that export limits are also being considered.

Additionally, the US is moving forces currently stationed in Europe to NATO member states bordering Russia on the west, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, to Putin’s refusal to withdraw troops from Belarus. The move is meant to convince those countries that they will be protected if Russia attacks.

“Let me be quite clear — these are entirely defensive actions on our part,” Mr. Biden stated. “We have no intention of engaging in warfare with Russia.”

“Whatever Russia does next,” the president concluded, “We stand ready to respond with unity, clarity, and conviction.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday that a meeting with his Russian colleague, Sergey Lavrov, had been postponed “now that we see the invasion commencing.” The meeting’s purpose was to lay the framework for a possible diplomatic solution — or at the very least to determine whether Mr. Biden and Putin could convene a summit.

“Now that the invasions by Russia have begun… it makes no sense to go with that meeting at this moment,” Blinken stated. “I consulted our allies and partners, and they all concur.” He said that he informed Lavrov of this Tuesday via a letter.

On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, did not specify what Russian action would activate the full brunt of US sanctions.

New US sanctions quickly followed Mr. Biden’s Monday night decision to recognize the breakaway territories as independent. He signed an executive order on Monday prohibiting new investment, trade, and financing in Luhansk and Donetsk, both of which are located in Eastern Ukraine’s Donbas area.

Russia sanctions
Flames from a gas burner and Nord Stream 2 logo displayedFlames from a gas burner and Nord Stream 2 logo [COURTESY]

Germany moves to halt projects of Nord Stream 2.

Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, described Russia’s declaration of independence for Donetsk and Luhansk — and subsequent decision to send forces into the breakaway areas — as an “act of war.”

Meanwhile, Germany has halted construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea, which was intended to carry natural gas directly from Russia to Germany. Mr. Biden had previously stated that there would be no Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine, but Germany finally decided. Despite pressure from allies, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz initially avoided making a public commitment to delay the pipeline because the pipeline would provide Germany with natural gas at a lower price.

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