December 9, 2022

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Biden imposes new sanctions on Russia over 'deliberate' Ukraine attack

Biden imposes new sanctions on Russia over ‘deliberate’ Ukraine attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden imposed a wave of sanctions on Russia on Thursday after Moscow invaded Ukraine, measures that have crippled Russia’s ability to do business in major currencies, as well as sanctions against banks and state-owned companies.

Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as an aggressor with an “evil vision of the world” and a delusional dream of re-establishing the Soviet Union.

But he has held off on imposing sanctions on Putin himself and on separating Russia from the international banking system SWIFT, amid disagreements with Western allies over how far he should go at this juncture and criticism from Republicans that he should have done more. Read more

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Ukrainian forces clashed with Russian invaders on three sides on Thursday, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Read more

“This is a premeditated attack,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. Now he and his country will bear the consequences.”

Biden said the sanctions are intended to have a long-term impact on Russia and reduce the impact on the United States and its allies. He said Washington is ready to do more.

The sanctions are aimed at limiting Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, sterling and yen. Among the targets are five major banks, including state-backed Sberbank and VTB, as well as members of the Russian elite and their families. Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, will not be able to transfer funds with the help of American banks. Read more

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The White House has also announced export restrictions aimed at limiting Russia’s access to everything from commercial electronics and computers to semiconductors and aircraft parts. Read more

dangerous moment

Biden said NATO would meet on Friday to draw up further measures and reiterated that the United States would not go to war with Russia. But he said the United States would fulfill its obligations under Article 5, in which NATO members agree that an armed attack against one in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Since Ukraine is not a member of NATO, this protection does not apply.

Biden said this was a “dangerous moment for all of Europe” and that he had allowed troops that were put on standby to deploy in Germany. He declined to comment on whether he would urge China to join the West’s campaign to isolate Russia.

US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the world was watching how Washington responded.

He said Congress would support “really devastating sanctions” against the Kremlin, but said Biden should have imposed tough sanctions early enough to deter the invasion and weaken Russia.

“It is unfortunate that deterrence after the fact is not deterrence at all,” McConnell said in a statement.

Biden met his counterparts from the Group of Seven nations and the National Security Council on Thursday after speaking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky late on Wednesday. Read more

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His announcement marks the second major tranche of sanctions against Russia since Putin earlier this week declared independence for two separate regions of Ukraine and sent troops there.

The United States has warned it will start waves of sanctions against Moscow if it invades Ukraine again, and Thursday’s all-out Russian military offensive led to the latest round of Western sanctions. Read more

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters that the Biden administration believed Putin had “greater ambitions than Ukraine,” without providing further details.

On Wednesday, Washington imposed sanctions on the company responsible for building the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and on Tuesday imposed sanctions on two major Russian financial institutions and Russia’s sovereign debt, along with some members of the Russian elite and their family members. Read more

White House economic adviser Dalip Singh told reporters Thursday that the moves are aimed at raising inflation and interest rates in Russia and lowering purchasing power, investment, growth and living standards.

Biden has become the face of the Western response to Russian aggression as he grapples with declining poll numbers at home, rising inflation that could be exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, and looming midterm elections that could hand control of the Senate and House of Representatives. Representatives from fellow Democrats to Republicans.

Officials said he briefed US congressional leaders on the Ukraine crisis during a secure call on Thursday.

The White House has warned Americans that the conflict could drive up fuel prices in the United States, although it is taking measures to help cushion that blow. Two sources said on Thursday that US officials are working with their counterparts in other countries on the joint release of additional oil from the global strategic crude reserves. Read more

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Biden warned oil and gas companies not to “take advantage” of this moment to raise prices.

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(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason). Additional reporting by Nandita Bose, Andrea Shallal and Patricia Gingerli; Editing by Trevor Honeycutt and Daniel Wallis

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