May 20, 2022

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Biden looks to cripple Russian economy with sanctions in response to invasion of Ukraine

Biden looks to cripple Russian economy with sanctions in response to invasion of Ukraine

President Biden outlined a new round of sanctions against Russia on Thursday in response to an invasion of Ukraine that threatens to embroil Europe in a major war.

The latest sanctions targeted Russian banks, as well as some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

Biden depicted the measures as a necessary punishment for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, a sovereign nation that has been desperate to avoid conflict. “Putin is the aggressor,” Biden said in remarks from the White House of the burgeoning conflict that he and his administration had been monitoring in recent days with increasing alarm.

“Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” the president said. Biden has sought to strike a tough tone against the Kremlin while also assuring Americans that U.S. forces would not take part in the conflict.

The first round of sanctions, levied on Monday, prevented American individuals and corporations from doing business in Luhansk and Donetsk, two breakaway Ukrainian regions that Putin recently recognized as independent countries. The second round included measures against four Russian banks, in an effort to isolate the Russian economy.

“That means every asset they have in America will be frozen,” Biden said.

The president said sanctions would extend to Russian oligarchs, the wealthy elites whose vast economic power is a pillar of the Putin regime. He also said the sanctions would severely limit Russia’s ability to purchase high-end technology from other nations.

“This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time. We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize the long-term impact on Russia — and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies.”

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Earlier this week, Germany announced it was suspending approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring Russian gas directly to Western Europe. Russia is a major exporter of oil and gas, and the energy sector is central to its faltering economy.

“Putin will be a pariah on the international stage,” Biden predicted, even though the Russian leader — who is believed to have amassed a huge fortune in his decades ruling the country — has himself not yet been sanctioned. Over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron had endeavored to arrange a summit between Putin and Biden, but the Russian invasion scuttled hopes of a meeting.

“I have no plans to talk to Putin,” Biden said from the White House.