US President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled tough new sanctions against Russia after Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine, imposing measures to prevent Russia from doing business in the world’s major currencies as well as sanctions against banks and public enterprises.
“This is a premeditated attack,” Biden told reporters at the White House, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected Western attempts to engage in dialogue and violated international law.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will suffer the consequences.”
Biden said the sanctions were designed to have a long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and its allies. And he said Washington was ready to do more.
Biden said the sanctions would limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen.
Biden said NATO would meet on Friday to outline new measures. He reiterated that the United States would not engage in war against Russia, but would honor its Article 5 commitments to defend NATO partners. Biden said it was a dangerous time for all of Europe and he had allowed troops who had been put on standby to deploy to Germany.
“Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will end up costing Russia dearly,” Biden said. “Putin will be an outcast on the international stage.
“Biden met with his counterparts from the Group of Seven allies earlier Thursday to outline tougher measures against Russia after Putin launched the attack. Biden, who spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy late Wednesday, also convened its National Security Council on Thursday to discuss the situation.
His announcement represented the second major tranche of sanctions against Russia since Putin earlier this week declared two breakaway regions of Ukraine independent and sent troops there.
The United States had warned it would launch waves of sanctions against Moscow if it invaded Ukraine further, and Russia’s full military assault launched on Thursday led to the latest round of Western sanctions.
Britain has unveiled new measures targeting banks, members of Putin’s inner circle and the very wealthy who enjoy the hectic London lifestyle. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament the leaders had agreed to work together to “maximize the economic price” that Putin will pay.
On Wednesday, Washington imposed sanctions on the company in charge of the construction of the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, and on Tuesday it sanctioned two major Russian financial institutions and Russian sovereign debt as well as some members of the Russian elite and members of their family.
The United States imposed the sanctions in cooperation with Western allies.
Biden had faced political pressure at home to impose sanctions before Putin’s invasion. The White House has opened the door to diplomacy, even agreeing in principle earlier to a summit between the president and Putin if Russia does not invade.
The president is now becoming the face of the Western response to Russian aggression as he battles low poll numbers at home, rising inflation that could be exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine and mid-term elections. -impending mandate that could give control of the Senate and the House. from representatives of his fellow Democrats to Republicans.
The White House has warned Americans that the dispute could lead to higher fuel prices in the United States, although it is taking steps to help soften the blow. U.S. officials have been working with their counterparts in other countries on a combined release of additional oil from global strategic crude reserves, two sources said Thursday.
Biden has warned oil and gas companies not to “exploit” this moment to raise prices.
Members of Congress from both parties have urged the White House to act quickly on tougher actions against Russia, including providing military aid to Ukraine, imposing tough sanctions and export controls and ousting Russia from international organizations.
“This unprovoked attack underscored the need to expel the current Kremlin leaders from the international community,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “Today must mark a historic change in the way the world views and treats the despot in Moscow.”