Biden vows to make Putin an ‘outcast’ after Ukraine invasion

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden vowed Thursday to turn Russian President Vladimir Putin into “a pariah” on the world stage in retaliation for Russia’s predawn invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking just hours after Russia launched a full-scale military attack on its Democratic neighbor, Biden announced a new round of sanctions he said would hurt Russia for starting a war “without provocation.” , without justification, without necessity”.

“Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will end up costing Russia dearly – economically and strategically,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “We will ensure that Putin is an outcast on the international stage.”

Biden strongly condemned the invasion, calling it a “premeditated” attack that will cause widespread human suffering.

Putin has been planning the assault for months, rejecting “all good faith efforts” by world leaders to resolve the crisis without bloodshed, Biden said.

“Putin is the aggressor,” he said. “Putin chose this war.”

Biden announced a second round of sanctions against Russia, including a ban on some key US exports to that country. He did not specify which exports would be banned, but administration officials said cutting Russia’s supply of semiconductors was under consideration.

This would mean that Russia’s ability to obtain high-tech components would be severely limited because virtually all semiconductors are designed with US software and parts. The impact could extend to machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, tablets and televisions.

“We deliberately designed these sanctions to maximize a long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies,” Biden said.

Biden said he was also authorizing the deployment of additional US force capabilities to Germany as part of NATO’s response to bolster forces on the military alliance’s eastern flank.

Biden said removing Russia from the SWIFT international financial system was still on the table, but European allies had resisted the step. The SWIFT financial system transfers money between banks around the world. Russia’s withdrawal would block Moscow from most international financial transactions, including profits from oil and gas production that are the backbone of Russia’s economy.

While Europe isn’t ready to kick Russia out of SWIFT, the sanctions they’ve agreed to impose “surpass anything that’s ever been done,” Biden said. “These are deep sanctions.”

Biden’s speech on Thursday came less than 24 hours after Putin launched a pre-dawn military attack, which a US military official said was aimed at overthrowing the country’s government and installing a Kremlin-backed one.

The conflict in the region has been simmering for months. About 190,000 Russian troops have surrounded Ukraine in recent weeks, and the United States and other Western nations have stepped up reinforcements on NATO’s eastern flank.

Putin announced a major invasion of Ukraine during a public address broadcast before dawn in Eastern Europe, as the Russian attack began with a barrage of missiles and bombers.

Fighting had started in northern and southern Ukraine, according to its defense ministry, and Russian troops had tried to take control of Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 meltdown considered one of the biggest nuclear disasters in history.

Oleksii Arestovich, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said at least 40 people had been killed and dozens more injured in the attack so far.

The United States and its Western allies have warned of an impending invasion for weeks, even as they seek diplomatic solutions to resolve the conflict.

Putin claimed the invasion was necessary to protect Russians and defend two territories held by Russian-backed separatists, which the Kremlin recognized as “independent” republics earlier this week. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine has denied attempting to retake these territories. Putin has long been alarmed by the prospect of Ukraine, a pro-Western democracy, joining NATO, a military alliance of mostly European countries along with the United States and Canada.

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Putin has demanded that Ukraine never enter NATO in an attempt to avoid Western influence creeping in along the Russian border. The Russian president also denied Ukraine’s right to exist, saying it should be part of Russia.

With hopes for a diplomatic solution fading, the United States and other Western powers earlier announced new sanctions, which were aimed at hampering the Russian economy and powerful people close to Putin.

Calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “flagrant violation of international law,” Biden said on Tuesday the country was cut off from Western funding and that the United States had worked with Germany to prevent operations on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The sanctions also targeted a handful of Russian oligarchs in Putin’s inner circle.

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At that time, Biden also warned of further sanctions if Russia continued its assault. On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was freezing Russian banks from the UK financial system.

Contributors: Courtney Subramanian, Joey Garrison and Rebecca Morin.