Biden Announces New Sanctions against Russia, Charges Putin Will Take ‘More Territory by Force’
Feb. 22, 2022 (EIRNS)—With exactly the same rhetoric spouted off by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Tony Blinken in recent weeks, President Joe Biden spoke from the White House this afternoon to announce a new set of sanctions to be imposed on Russia, to punish it for “carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” by declaring the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force.” Whereas last night, the administration had not used the word “invasion” to describe Russia’s actions yesterday, today the vocabulary changed: “this is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” for which Putin was granted permission from his Duma, Biden announced. He attacked Putin’s televised address last night as a “twisted rewrite of history,” charging that he had no interest in pursuing real dialogue on European security in 2022.
The sanctions announcement was coordinated with the British, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson bombastically introduced a similar package before the House of Commons this morning, and with the European Union, whose Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell announced a sanctions package agreed on by 27 members, as further reported in today’s Alert.
Biden asserted that “we,” the allies, believe
“that Russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine.... I hope we’re wrong about that. But Russia has only escalated its threat against the rest of Ukrainian territory, including major cities and including the capital city of Kiev.... He [Putin] directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia....”
The President claimed: “There are still well over 150,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine. And as I said, Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, including war planes and offensive missile systems.”
What was announced today is a first tranche of sanctions, which could be intensified, Biden warned, should Russia “escalate.” The package includes sanctioning two large Russian financial institutions, VEB Bank and the Russian military bank, PSB. These sanctions will prohibit U.S. financial institutions from processing transactions for the two banks. The secondary-market in Russia’s sovereign debt is also sanctioned, which is far more significant than the new issues (which were sanctioned earlier), and effectively cuts Russia’s government off from Western financing, and sets the stage for an orchestrated run against the currency, the ruble.
The U.S. is also sanctioning three individuals, two of whom are the sons of high-ranking Russian government officials. According to Politico the Treasury Department today also released a list of all the individuals and entities sanctioned. Later on, there will be sanctions imposed on “Russia’s elites and their family members.” Biden did have to admit that Americans could feel some “pain” as a result of sanctions being imposed on Russia, but insisted that he is taking “robust” steps to ensure that energy supplies will be guaranteed, to keep prices down.
Naturally, since Biden described Putin as the aggressor, he insisted that everything being done, including authorizing additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen “our Baltic allies—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania”—is of a defensive nature. “We have no intention of fighting Russia.” But, we are making an unmistakable message that the United States “together with our allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO.”