Biden's Warning in Response to Putin's 'War' Declaration Falls on Deaf Ears
After President Joe Biden’s threat of severe sanctions on Russia failed to avert an invasion of Ukraine, he said his administration will respond firmly with more sanctions.
Biden will be coordinating sanctions with European and other allies, according to Axios.
“The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces,” the president said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
“I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team,” Biden said, adding that he would meet Thursday morning with other Group of 7 leaders “and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.
“We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance,” he said.
Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said the time has come to get tough.
“Every option must be placed on the table to stop Putin’s malevolence that not only threatens Ukraine and Eastern Europe, but the security of all liberal democracies around the globe. Putin chose a path to war, and he must now suffer the consequences. … our response to Putin must be in lockstep with our allies,” she said, according to Axios.
On Wednesday, hours before the attack on Ukraine was launched, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in her daily briefing that “deterrence is part of our objective” in the initial group of sanctions announced after Russia recognized two breakaway regions in Ukraine and sent troops to the eastern part of the nation.
Psaki indicated that the Biden administration was confident its response had impacted Putin’s plans.
“President Putin did not expect the United States to have the level of information that we have, did not expect us to put out this amount of information that we have put out, did not expect the global community to be as unified, including in the — how unified the global community was in putting out the sanctions yesterday. And what we’re seeing now — our assessment is that he is improvising, adapting,” she said.
Psaki said that as Putin has put on the pressure, the Biden administration has had a different focus.
“While Russia has sought to divide our allies and the American people, the president has sought to revitalize our partnerships and alliances and unite our country,” she said.
As Russian troops were massing to invade, commentators said they feared the sanctions Biden announced initially would do little to stop it.
“We must wait to see if the U.S. will impose the impact they’ve promised for further aggression and how that is defined,” said Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, according to Bloomberg. “I fear at the moment that Putin may not think the West has the stomach to follow through.”
The full impact of the day’s events was captured by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, according to The New York Times.
“For more than 70 years, we have avoided large-scale war in Europe,” he said. “With his illegal invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has tragically brought decades of general peace to an end.”
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