‘Putin Chose This War’: Biden Lays Out New Sanctions Against Russia After Full-Scale Invasion

Screenshot YouTube, President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks On The Russia-Ukraine Conflict 2/24/22

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden announced Thursday a slew of new sanctions against Russia after the country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The president, speaking at the White House, laid out sanctions that include limiting what can be exported to Russia as well as sanctions against four Russian banks. Biden is also sanctioning more “Russian elites” and “corrupt billionaires” with close ties to the Kremlin, he said.

Biden touted the sanctions as “devastating” and declared that they will “impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time.” (RELATED: Chernobyl Power Plant Has Been Captured By The Russians, Ukrainian Official Says)

“Today, I’m authorizing additional strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia. This is gonna impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” Biden said. “We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize a long term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact of the United States and our allies. I want to be clear: The United States is not doing this alone.”

The president highlighted his earlier meeting with the G7 leaders, telling the nation that everyone involved is in “full and total agreement” on the sanctions.

“We will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy,” Biden said. “We’re gonna stunt the ability to finance and grow the Russian military.”

Biden also noted the additional sanctions on banks, which add onto the “first tranche” of sanctions he imposed earlier in the week after Putin recognized two separatist-controlled Ukrainian territories.

“[With] today’s actions, we’ve now sanctioned Russia’s banks that together hold around one trillion dollars in assets,” Biden said. “We’ve cut off Russia’s largest bank, a bank that holds more than one-third of Russia’s banking assets by itself. We’ve cut it off from the U.S. financial system.”


Biden said the sanctions targeting the four additional banks effectively means that “every asset” each bank has in the U.S. “will be frozen.” The banks affected by the sanctions include the VTB Bank, Russia’s second-largest.

VTB Bank, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House, will face “full blocking sanctions” along with Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank OJSC, and Novikombank- and 34 subsidiaries. Meanwhile, Russia’s largest financial institution, Sherbank, will have its connection to the U.S. financial system cut.

The president also touched on the list of “Russian elites and their family members” that he sanctioned earlier in the week, telling the country that this list had been added to. Despite the newly edited list, Biden later refused to address why he had not chosen to sanction Putin already – a point he previously said was an option on the table.

“As I said on Tuesday, there are people who personally gain from the Kremlin’s policies, and they should share in the pain,” Biden declared. (RELATED: US Official Suggests Putin’s Order To Move Troops Into Separatist-Controlled Ukrainian Territories Won’t Prompt ‘Swift And Severe’ Sanctions)

Shortly after his speech, the Treasury Department revealed the names of the individuals affected by the sanctions. The names include 24 Belarusian individuals and entities, sanctioned for supporting and facilitating the Russian invasion. The White House fact sheet said as it called on Belarus to withdraw its support for Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The president called out Russian President Vladimir Putin during his speech and called the attack a “premeditated war.” He pointedly called Putin “the aggressor” and said that the Russian president “chose this war.”

“Now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said.

Mindful of the effect sanctions could have on Americans, Biden also made a point to promise that he is doing “everything in” his “power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” Still, Biden said that Russia’s “aggression cannot go unanswered.”

“I know this is hard and that Americans are already hurting. I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me. But this aggression cannot go unanswered.”

The slew of newly-announced sanctions still do not match up with what Ukrainian officials had pushed for. Biden did not announce any NATO-backed plan to bar Russia from SWIFT, the worldwide banking transfer system, even after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed his hope for this move.

The president, defending his sanctions, told reporters after his remarks that excluding Russia from SWIFT is “not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take,” though it remains an option going forward.

“The sanctions we’ve imposed exceed SWIFT. The sanctions we’ve imposed exceed anything that’s ever been done,” Biden said.