Biden Dodges On Why He Hasn’t Sanctioned Putin, Says It Is Still On The Table

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden dodged questions Thursday on why he hasn’t directly sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the option is still on the table.

Reporters pressed Biden on the issue after he announced a suite of sanctions in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning. The package did not include some of the most severe sanction options, however, such as booting Russia from the international financial system known as SWIFT or sanctions against Putin himself. (RELATED: ‘They Go Straight To Hell’: Ukrainian UN Ambassador Calls Out Moscow’s War Crimes To Russian Counterpart’s Face)

“You recently said that the idea of personally sanctioning President Putin was on the table. Is that a step you’re prepared to take, and if not—,” a reporter asked before being cut off by the president.

“It’s not a bluff. It’s on the table,” Biden said.

“Sanctioning President Putin?” the reporter asked.

“Yes,” Biden said.

“Why not sanction him today, sir?” the reporter pressed.

Biden then ignored the question even as the reporter repeated it multiple times.


Russia carried out coordinated airstrikes on Ukrainian military bases across the country Thursday morning. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a general call-to-arms to his citizens Thursday, saying the government will provide weapons.

“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Zelensky tweeted early Thursday. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”

Biden’s Thursday sanctions package includes blocks on technology exports to Russia, as well as sanctions against four major Russian banks, among other measures.

While the U.S. has ruled out deploying troops directly to Ukraine, Biden has increased the number of U.S. troops in NATO countries near Russia. Biden has threatened that if Putin goes beyond Ukraine and invades a NATO country, Russia will face the full force of American power, a threat he reiterated Thursday.