“We saw flagrant violations of international law,” Biden said. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war.”
The new package of sanctions aims to cut Russia off from the U.S.’s financial markets and include freezing the assets of major Russian banks, including VTB Bank, the nation’s second-biggest bank, Biden said Thursday.
Biden said the U.S. is deploying additional forces to Germany to bolster NATO forces in the face of the Russian invasion.
Biden has made clear that the U.S. would go after Russia financially, not militarily. The goal is to make Moscow pay so high a price that the Kremlin will change course.
“Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” Biden said.
Earlier this week, Biden announced heavy financial sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs, declaring that Moscow had violated international law.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to hit the Russian elites with “massive and targeted sanctions,” saying she would put to EU leaders late Thursday a proposal that would target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking access to key technologies and markets.
She said the sanctions, if approved, “will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernize. And in addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets.”
“We want to cut off Russia’s industry from the technologies desperately needed today to build the future,” von der Leyen said.
The consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions on Russia started reverberating throughout the world.
Stocks tumbled worldwide Thursday after Russia’s attack sent fear coursing through markets and upped the pressure on the high inflation already hurting people and businesses around the world.
The S&P 500 sank 1.6% to continue its dismal start of the year. It’s now down almost 14% from the record high it set in early January.
European markets sank even more, with the German DAX down nearly 5%. Bond yields fell as investors sought safety and the price of oil soared toward $100 a barrel. The conflict could send prices spiraling even higher at gasoline pumps and grocery stores everywhere.
Moscow’s stock exchange briefly suspended trading on all its markets on Thursday morning. After trading resumed, the ruble-denominated MOEX stock index tumbled more than 20% and the dollar-denominated RTS index plunged by more than one-third.
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