US President Joe Biden announced economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions were the beginning of a Ukraine invasion.
Ukraine Invasion Underway
Speaking at the White House yesterday, Biden warned that Russia’s recent movements were the start of its planned Ukraine invasion. “We still believe that Russia is poised to go much further and launch a massive military attack against Ukraine,” he added.
The President also remarked that the US already prepared its response to Russia’s aggressive tactics against its neighbor Ukraine. “As Russia contemplates this next move, we have our next move prepared as well. Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions,” Biden said.
Russia Recognizes Two Breakaway Regions In Eastern Ukraine
Earlier Monday, Putin announced that Russia formally recognizes the independence of two breakaway regions in the eastern part of Ukraine. He said that Russian troops will support the independence movement in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions (Donbas). Consequently, he ordered soldiers to enter the Donbas territories to carry out peacekeeping functions.
In addition, Biden claimed that more than 150,000 Russian troops continue to surround Ukraine. He noted that Moscow positioned military hardware and medical and blood supplies near the border. “You don’t need blood unless you plan on starting a war,” the President added.
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Sanctions For Russia For Starting Ukraine Invasion
Biden announced that the US will impose sanctions on Russian financial institutions as well as Moscow’s sovereign debt. This amounts to the US preventing Russia from further availing of Western financing. Biden also said that the sanctions will focus on five Russian elites who are reportedly close to the Russian leadership. However, the President said that the sanctions will not go after Putin directly.
Analysts said that current sanctions aimed to punish Russia, but leave room for its President to reconsider its planned Ukraine invasion. In addition, the measures also encourage Putin to engage in diplomatic discussions. Biden also said that he ordered the moving of US troops stationed in Europe to strengthen Baltic allies’ positions. He insisted the decision was a defensive one, as “we have no intention of fighting Russia.”
Europe Also Announces Sanctions
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany will halt regulatory approval for Nord Stream 2. This is the gas pipeline that bypasses Ukraine in delivering gas to Germany. Previously during a White House visit, Scholz was unwilling to commit to stopping Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded.
According to Daleep Singh, White House deputy national security adviser, Russia will now take the hit. “That’s an $11 billion investment in a prized gas pipeline controlled by Russia that will now go to waste,” he said. “And it’s a major turning point in the world’s energy independence from Russia,” he added.
Russia’s Energy Disruption Means Higher Gas Prices for the US
However, the sanctions affecting Russia’s status as a major energy supplier means higher gas prices for the US. This comes at a very wrong time when the country is suffering from its highest inflation rate in 40 years. Russia is also a major supplier of aluminum, nickel, palladium, and copper. Any disruptions to the global supply chain can strain the world’s economy further and affect businesses.
Meanwhile, Biden defended their stand against Russia. He told Americans that “defending freedom” will entail costs at home. He promised that the White House will closely monitor the energy supply situation. Hopefully, they can “limit the pain American people are feeling at the gas pump.”
Watch the CBS Evening News video reporting that President Joe Biden sanctions Russia as invasion of Ukraine looms
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What do you think will happen next? Will Russia escalate the situation by involving itself militarily in Ukraine’s separatist problems? Or, will Russia stand down and return to the negotiating table and minimize the damages of economic sanctions?
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