President Joe Biden’s sanctions plan will target Russian financial institutions, companies and key imports if Russian President Vladimir Putin moves forward with an invasion of Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
While the final suite of sanctions is still being developed, the final lineup will be “unparalleled” in U.S.-Russian history, according to WSJ. Biden stated Tuesday that he was considering personal sanctions against Putin, but the White House has not further explained what those sanctions might be. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Speak Loudly And Carry A Small Stick’: Republicans Blast Biden’s Response To Putin’s Escalation In Ukraine)
The U.S. and NATO allies have made clear threats of “decisive” economic consequences for Russia if the country invades Ukraine. Russian troops have been amassing on Ukraine’s borders for months, and U.S. officials have described an invasion as “imminent.”
Biden held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday in which he warned that an invasion in February was a “distinct possibility.”
A CNN report immediately following the call painted a much more urgent picture, citing an unnamed White House source who said that Biden had warned Zelensky to “prepare for impact” and that Russia would invade as soon as the ground froze in Ukraine. The White House pushed back on the report, however.
“This is not true. President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne stated. “He has previously said this publicly & we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false.”
The U.S. and NATO allies held a series of talks with Russian and Ukrainian officials in early January, but the Russian buildup of troops has continued. The White House has also scheduled a Feb. 7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss the hostilities. Germany has played a key role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict in its push for the U.S. and other allies to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which pumps gas directly from Russia to Germany and serves to ostracize Ukraine from the European energy economy.
Western countries have threatened to cut off Russia from SWIFT, the global security network that connects thousands of the world’s top financial institutions, should Russia invade Ukraine. The Russian Federation Council responded Tuesday that they would cut off oil supply to Europe if NATO countries made that move.