It comes after President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of the breakaway regions Donetsk and Luhansk and ordered Russian troops there.
Speaking from the White House on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Biden also called Putin’s moves the “beginning of a Russian invasion” of Ukraine as he announced new sanctions against Moscow.
“We are implementing full blockade sanctions on two big Russian financial institutions: the VEB and their military bank,” Biden said,
“We are implementing sweeping sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. This means that we have cut Russia’s government from Western funding. It can no longer raise funds from the West and its new debt on our markets or European markets. I can’t do business.”
“In the name of God that Putin thinks gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on the territory of his neighbors?” Biden insisted from the White House podium.
In his remarks, Biden continued, “We will also sanction Russia’s elite and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of Kremlin policies and must also share in the pain.”
“We have worked with Germany to ensure that Nord Stream 2 does not go ahead…”
Following Putin’s announcement, Biden signed an executive order on Monday that would prohibit all new investment, trade and financing by American individuals in or from the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics”.
The US strongly condemned Putin’s decision to recognize the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent”.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield supported Ukraine’s call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. She criticized Russia’s announcement, saying it was “nothing more than a theatre, apparently designed to make an excuse for further invasion of Ukraine.”
Notably, Putin in his Monday address to the nation ordered the sending of Russian armed forces to different regions of Ukraine after recognizing their independence.
Notably, in March 2014, Russia invaded and then annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. In April, pro-Russian separatists declared independence in the Donbass region. The war continued in eastern Ukrainian territory and then spread to the west. Roughly 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were eventually killed in the conflict.
In April 2019, former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky was elected with a large majority as the President of Ukraine on a promise to restore Donbass in the country. The crisis deepened in January 2021, when Zelensky appealed to US President Biden to allow Ukraine to enter NATO. In the spring of 2021, Russia called for a massive troop training exercise near the borders of Ukraine.
Russia said its military deployment was in response to NATO’s steady eastward expansion. It argued that its moves are intended to protect its own security considerations.
First published:February 23, 2022, 8:01 am