Speed Reads


Biden announces new 'strong sanctions' against Russia: 'This aggression cannot go unanswered'

President Biden has announced new sanctions against Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine.

In an address from the White House on Thursday, Biden said Russia's "brutal assault" on Ukraine that began on Wednesday night was "premeditated," and it's "unfolding largely as we predicted." 

"Putin is the aggressor," Biden said. "Putin chose this war, and now, he and his country will bear the consequences." 

Biden announced he's authorizing additional "strong sanctions" on Russia with the goal of imposing "severe cost" on its economy. The U.S. is blocking four additional Russian banks, including Russia's second largest, meaning "every asset they have in America will be frozen," Biden said. Additionally, the U.S. is sanctioning more Russians who "personally gained from the Kremlin's policies," and the U.S. with its allies will "cut off more than half of Russia's high-tech imports." 

"This aggression cannot go unanswered," Biden said. "If it did, the consequences for America would be much worse. America stands up to bullies. We stand up for freedom." 

Biden said sanctions for Putin himself are on the table, but he did not explain why he is choosing not to impose them now. He predicted the sanctions that have been announced so far will "so weaken" Russia that Putin will "have to make a very, very difficult choice," though he acknowledged this will "take time" to happen. "They are profound sanctions," Biden said. "Let's have a conversation in another month or so to see if they're working." 

Biden also said there's been a "complete rupture" in U.S.-Russia relations as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and that he has "no plans" to speak with Putin, who "will be a pariah on the international stage" going forward. "It's going to be a cold day for Russia," Biden said. "You don't see a whole lot of people coming to his defense."