In his remarks Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said the United States would continue to supply Ukraine with “defensive” weapons against a Russian invasion, and deploy more US troops to reinforce NATO allies in Eastern Europe.
The deployment of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine is “the beginning of a Russian invasion,” Biden said as he announced that sweeping new sanctions would target Russia’s ability to do business with the West.
Russia’s actions triggered harsh responses from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized separatist regions in two Ukrainian oblasts: Donetsk and Luhansk.
During an address from the White House’s East Room, Biden referred to Putin’s decree as a “flagrant violation of international law.“
“I have authorized additional movements of US forces and equipment, already stationed in Europe, to strengthen our Baltic allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” Biden said.
“Let me be clear, these are totally defensive moves on our part,” he said while accusing Russia of being the aggressor. Despite not intending to fight Russia, he said that the United States would defend every inch of Nato territory.
This is a little confusing, as Ukraine is NOT part of NATO.
As part of his plan to strengthen Baltic allies, Biden said the United States would move some troops and equipment already in Europe, saying it was a “defensive” move. “We have no intention of fighting Russia,” Biden said.
“As Russia contemplates this next move, we have our next move prepared as well. Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions,” Biden warned.
Earlier this week, President Putin recognized two breakaway regions in the eastern part of Ukraine as independent and sent troops to carry out “peacekeeping missions.”
“Because Russia has now taken a step to launch its latest invasion of Ukraine,” the U.S. and its allies are exerting sanctions in response, Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser, said on Morning Edition Tuesday.
Finer and other White House officials said that, despite Russia’s legalistic, gradual approach to seizing land and property from Ukraine since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, there is no doubt that there is an invasion taking place.
“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” Finer said, according to the Associated Press. “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”
As part of the administration’s sanctions announcement, the President also announced the first tranche of sanctions against Russia after it acknowledged two separatist republics in Ukraine. Similarly to the EU, Russian banks are targeted by the sanctions ‘to starve them of financial resources.’
“We’re implementing sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing,” Biden said.
In addition to financial institutions, the measures will target Russian “elites,” he said.