U.S. President Joe Biden took a strong stance against Russia on Thursday, unveiling a wide array of sanctions meant to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his full-scale attack on Ukraine.
Biden Speaks About Crisis at Thursday Press Conference
Biden laid out the sanctions in a press conference on Thursday afternoon in the East Room of the White House. The president called out Putin for being the aggressor and choosing this war, warning that he will now pay the price for this decision.Read More »
By the end of the day Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that at least 137 of his soldiers died during the attacks of the day. In addition, Zelensky said there were another 300 soldiers that had been wounded.
Number of New Sanctions
During the address, Biden explained in greater detail how the U.S. will work to punish Putin for his transgressions against Ukraine in an attempt to deter him. The new sanctions are primarily designed to cripple the finances of Moscow by punishing its banks and cutting off the money needed to fund the war effort. Biden referred to the sanctions as a way to punish the “corrupt billionaires” in the government circles of Moscow.
The president also announced that the sanctions are designed to block exports on important technology. The goal of this is to limit how effectively Russia is able to continue to wage this military aggression. Without the proper technology, the U.S. is hoping that Moscow will be severely limited. The Russian aerospace sector would also be seriously marginalized without the right technological tools.
While the previous sanctions were engineered to prevent Putin from taking action, the new round of punishments are designed to punish the Russian leader for the events of the last few days. By taking aim at the Russian economy, its military prowess, and those close to the Kremlin, the U.S. is hoping that the sanctions will limit the actions that Putin takes in the coming weeks. Biden did concede that the success of the sanctions will take weeks to realize.
Despite multiple questions by reporters about the issue, Biden did not answer why he has not applied sanctions directly to Putin. Instead, he insisted that Putin will begin to see the effects of the sanctions that are now being levied.
Notable to many experts is the fact that the long list of sanctions did not include any punishments against Russia’s energy industry. This is likely because sanctions against the energy sector could have a ripple effect on the world’s oil supply, sending gas prices soaring even higher.
White House Addresses Rising Gas Prices and Refugees
The president also used this time behind the podium to address the fears of rising gas prices amidst the escalating crisis. Acknowledging that he understands the fears that Americans have about the increasing cost to fill up their vehicles, Biden said that he was actively working to limit the impact that the new sanctions have on energy prices. He also said that the U.S. is prepared to release more barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to mitigate the damage at the gas pump.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the subject of the potential of Ukraine refugees, ensuring these people that the U.S. would welcome them. Thousands of Ukrainians streamed across the border into Poland throughout the day Thursday to escape what was quickly becoming a dangerous situation. Psaki said that the U.S. is working with Europe to determine the acute needs of the refugees and to provide assistance as needed.
Situation on U.S. Troops
Biden also announced that he was sending ground and air forces to NATO’s eastern front. This includes the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. While Biden assured Americans that these troops will not go into Ukraine to battle Russia, he wants them there as extra support for the NATO allies.
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