“Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” Biden said on Tuesday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin was “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force.”
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he asked permission for in his Duma,” he continued.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors?” Biden asked. “This is a flagrant violation of international law and it demands a firm response from the international community.”
“We are implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we have cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” Biden said.
“We continue to monitor Russia’s actions and if it further invades Ukraine, the United States will swiftly impose expansive economic sanctions that will have a severe and lasting impact on Russia’s economy,” she added.
The sanctions are slated to take effect beginning on Wednesday. Biden said the US was prepared to implement sanctions “far beyond” those in 2014 if Russia attacks Ukraine.
He also revealed that US troops would be shifted from elsewhere in Europe into the Baltic States in response to Russian troops remaining in Belarus. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all members of the NATO alliance.
Citing a US official, Reuters reported that this included 800 troops from Italy, 20 Apache attack helicopters presently stationed in Germany, and 12 Apache helicopters being sent to Poland from Greece.
“When all is said and done, we’re going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words. Whatever Russia does next, we’re ready to respond with unity, clarity and conviction,” Biden said. “I’m hoping diplomacy is still available.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters afterward that Putin did not watch Biden’s speech, as he was in a working meeting at the time.
So far, those requests have largely fallen on deaf ears.
by Morgan Artyukhina
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