..we’re announcing the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen- Boris Johnson
US president says Russia will face ‘severe cost’ for attacking Ukraine, accusing Vladimir Putin of choosing war.
Washington, DC – United States President Joe Biden has announced new sanctions against Russia, vowing to impose a “severe cost” on the country for its invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Biden voiced support for Ukraine and said the sanctions package will limit international trade with Moscow and penalise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
“Putin is the aggressor; Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said.
The sanctions target four Russian banks that hold more than $1 trillion in assets, including the country’s largest bank, Sberbank. “That means every asset they have in America will be frozen,” the US president said.
Biden also said the sanctions will target wealthy Russians close to Putin. “We will keep up this drumbeat of those designations against corrupt billionaires in the days ahead,” he pledged.
Thursday’s measures did not target the Russian president personally, but Biden said sanctioning Putin is “on the table”.
The US move comes after Russia launched a large-scale military operation in Ukraine late on Wednesday after a months-long impasse in the region that saw Moscow amass as many as 200,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.
European countries began imposing sanctions on Russia over the invasion on Thursday, with the United Kingdom announcing measures targeting dozens of Russian banks, businesses and wealthy elites, and banning Russia’s national airline Aeroflot from the country’s airspace.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a package of “severe” sanctions against Russia on Thursday, targeting banks, members of President Vladimir Putin’s closest circle and the extremely wealthy who enjoy high-rolling London lifestyles.
Western nations are coordinating action to impose tough sanctions on Russia in response to its all-out invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, where Moscow staged missile strikes on cities and poured its troops into the country.
Speaking to parliament, Johnson said Putin would be condemned by the world and by history for his invasion, never able to cleanse the “blood of Ukraine” from his hands.
“This hideous and barbarous venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure,” he told parliament when announcing the new sanctions.
“For our part today the UK is announcing the largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen.”
Ukrainian officials have said fighting also is taking place on the ground, with Russian forces on Thursday capturing the former nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, in the country’s north.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law late on Wednesday, and pledged that Ukrainians would defend themselves against the invasion. “When you will be attacking us, you will see our faces, not our backs, but our faces,” Zelenskyy said.
Putin had accused the Ukrainian government of committing atrocities in the east of the country where government forces had been battling Russia-backed separatists since 2014, but Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied attacking the pro-Moscow rebels.