President Joe Biden announced Tuesday a “first tranche of sanctions” against Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized and deployed troops into two separatist-controlled Ukrainian territories.
Biden condemned Putin’s moves against Ukraine and declared it unequivocally as “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” This first round of sanctions include “full blocking” on two Russian banks and “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian debt, the president said. (RELATED: US Official Suggests Putin’s Order To Move Troops Into Separatist-Controlled Ukrainian Territories Won’t Prompt ‘Swift And Severe’ Sanctions)
“These have been closely coordinated with our allies and partners and we’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates,” according to Biden. “We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions – VEB and their military bank. We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve 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 continued. “Starting tomorrow, and continuing in the days ahead, we’ll also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.”
Biden described Russia’s decision to recognize the two separatist-controlled Ukrainian territories plainly, saying that the country had essentially “announced it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine.”
Biden also touched on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was halted by Germany earlier Tuesday. The president said his administration had “worked with” Germany regarding Nord Stream 2 and promised that “Russia will pay a steeper price if it continues its aggression.”
“As Russia contemplates its next move we have our next move prepared as well,” Biden said before going into his decision to authorize more U.S. forces and equipment to help “strengthen our Baltic allies.”
While the president declared that a Russian invasion had begun, he did not address why the administration opted against issuing the full “swift and severe” sanctions promised earlier in the year. Instead, the president noted he plans to continue imposing sanctions depending on Russia’s actions.
Tuesday’s sanctions follow Biden’s executive order that was announced Monday and also issued in response to Putin recognizing the two Ukrainian territories. The executive order will “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.