Biden announces 'first tranche' of Russia sanctions
US President Joe Biden announces the first round of sanctions have been imposed on Russia in his speech, which the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was too busy to watch.
In response to Moscow's recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and deployment of peacekeeping forces in the Donbass, US President Joe Biden announced the first round of economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday.
“Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” Biden said on Tuesday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin was “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force.”
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he asked permission for in his Duma,” he continued, adding that “this is a flagrant violation of international law and it demands a firm response from the international community.”
The first round of sanctions on Russia announced target VEB Development Bank, Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company (PSB), and 42 of their subsidiaries, as well as Russia's sovereign debt and Russian "elites and their families."
Biden also stated that he worked with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to ensure that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would have transported liquefied natural gas from Russia to Germany, would be halted.
Sanctions on sovereign debt
"We are implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we have cut off Russia's government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either," Biden said.
“Today’s actions, taken in coordination with our partners and allies, begin the process of dismantling the Kremlin’s financial network and its ability to fund destabilizing activity in Ukraine and around the world,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) news release announcing the details of the new sanctions.
“We continue to monitor Russia’s actions and if it further invades Ukraine, the United States will swiftly impose expansive economic sanctions that will have a severe and lasting impact on Russia’s economy," she added.
The sanctions are expected to go into force on Wednesday. If Russia attacks Ukraine, Biden said the US would impose penalties "far beyond" those imposed in 2014.
In response to Russian troops remaining in Belarus, he also stated that US troops would be deployed from elsewhere in Europe to the Baltic States. The NATO alliance includes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Kremlin: Putin did not watch the speech
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin did not watch Biden's speech, as he was in a work meeting at the time.
The Russian President stated on Monday that he will recognize the independence of the Lugansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic, the breakaway Donbass nations that declared independence from Ukraine following the US-backed coup in Kiev in 2014.
See this: Donetsk and Lugansk Republics
On Tuesday, he explained that Kiev had long destroyed the Minsk Agreement, which was supposed to bring peace to the Donbass conflict. It refused to follow the accord agreed with Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).