Biden says not to remove Russia from SWIFT
The United States promises it will sanction Russia over Ukraine, but Biden says Europe does not want Russia off the SWIFT system.
US President Joe Biden plays the sanctions card against Russia another time amid tensions between Washington and Moscow over the former's intention to expand its NATO alliance eastward through Ukraine.
Biden announced Thursday "devastating" Western sanctions on Russia following a closed-door meeting with the group of 7 nations - the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States itself.
Biden said the bloc was "standing firm" against Russia's "threat to the rules-based international order."
Biden tweeted that the G7 leaders "agreed to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account. We stand with the brave people of Ukraine."
This morning, I met with my G7 counterparts to discuss President Putin’s unjustified attack on Ukraine and we agreed to move forward on devastating packages of sanctions and other economic measures to hold Russia to account. We stand with the brave people of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/dzvYxj7J9w— President Biden (@POTUS) February 24, 2022
According to the US president, Washington designed its new sanctions on Moscow in a way that would maximize long-term impact on the country and minimize the impact on the United States, and they will include economic sanctions and restrictions on export to Russia.
"We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen, to be part of the global economy, we will limit their ability to do that," Biden said.
He also claimed Putin rejected every "good faith" effort for diplomacy by the partners and allies of the United States, though Russia was the one that had called for talks and had the west reject its proposals on security guarantees.
The aforementioned sanctions would also curb Russia's militarization, with Biden saying they would prevent Moscow from financing and growing its military.
The United States would be blocking four more major Russian banks, and that includes VTB, while Biden estimated that it would more than halve Russia's high-tech imports, pledging that the punitive measures would also affect Russia's space program.
"Today, we are blocking four more major banks. That means every asset they have in America will be frozen. This includes VTB, the second largest bank in Russia," Biden said.
Though the US is engaging with both sides of the Russian special military operation, Biden clarified that its forces would not be engaged in conflict with Russia in Ukraine.
"Our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east," he told the press conference.
However, Washington will still be sending an additional 7,000 troops to Germany as part of NATO, while pledging to provide Ukraine with "humanitarian assistance".
Biden also mentioned cybersecurity, pledging to respond if Moscow conducts cyber attacks against his country.
"If Russia pursues cyber attacks against our companies, our critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond."
His allegations did not end there, as Biden asserted his belief that Putin wants to go beyond Ukraine and re-establish the USSR. "He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to - in fact - to reestablish the former Soviet Union."
A very notable point that Biden addressed was the SWIFT system and Russia's position in it.
"It is always an option [to remove Russia from the SWIFT system], but right now, that's not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take," Biden told the press conference.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier authorized a special military operation in Donbass this Thursday morning, citing neo-Nazi NATO allies moving closer to his nation's border.
Moscow's military operation in Ukraine is not a beginning of a war, but rather an attempt at curbing a global one, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Thursday.
"First of all, it is not a beginning of a war. It is very important. Our desire is to prevent the developments that could escalate into a global war. Second of all, it is the end of a war," Zakharova told NTV, a Russian broadcaster.
In response to the Russian operation in Donbass, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland have agreed to hold consultations in accordance with NATO's Article 4.
Russia has for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
Tensions had been soaring between Russia and Ukraine over the Donbass region and announcing it was intending to sign a decree recognizing the independence of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) and the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).
The announcement had been preceded by intense Ukrainian shelling of the two republics, and Russia's recognition of their statehood was a move to protect the innocent civilians from the Ukrainian aggressions.