- Biden announced sanctions that will hit the Russian economy after Putin started an invasion of Ukraine.
- Russia’s parliament gave Putin permission to use military force outside the country.
- German chancellor says the government will ‘reassess’ certification of Nord Stream 2.
President Joe Biden said Russia’s actions in Ukraine will trigger massive sanctions, a response he has been threatening for weeks as President Vladimir Putin built up troops on Ukraine’s borders. He said the Russian leader had flagrantly violated international law.
Putin on Tuesday received authorization from the upper chamber of parliament to use Russian troops outside of the country. He told reporters this was necessary to formalize the military’s deployment in two rebel regions of eastern Ukraine, which Russia recognized as independent on Monday.
Biden says Russia “will pay an even steeper price” if continues aggressions.
“There’s not question Russia is the aggressor,” Biden said. “Whatever Russia does next, we’re ready to respond.”
Here’s what you need to know about the crisis between Russia and Ukraine:
- The EU has implemented sanctions against Russia, including Duma members who voted to recognize independence of eastern Ukraine’s rebel re
- Russian lawmakers have approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for permission to use Russian troops outside of the country.
- In a significant move, Germany will stop certification of the Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- The UN Security Council met late Monday in an emergency session, with many members condemning the Kremlin’s actions.
►Russia-Ukraine explained:Inside the crisis as US calls Russian movements an invasion
Biden said he would be announcing sanctions “far beyond the scope” than was implemented in 2014 in response to Putin recognizing the Russian-backed eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Russia just announced that he is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” Biden said. “He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my views. This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Biden said the “first tranche” of sanctions would cut off Russia from western financial institutions, and beginning on Wednesday the U.S. would impose sanctions against individual Russians.
Biden says the sanctions are designed to “cut off” Russia from international loans and other forms of financial assistance it relies on. Penalties also will target Russian “elites” and their family members who profit from its military adventurism.
The sanctions block the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that is newly built but isn’t operational. Additional sanctions will be put in place if Russia moves farther into Ukraine, he said.
He warned more sanctions are on deck if Moscow continues to move against Ukraine.
“As Russia contemplates its next move we have our next move prepared as well,” he said.
Throughout his speech, Biden blamed Putin for the crisis.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belongs to his neighbors?” Biden said at one point.
– Joey Garrison, Rick Rouan, David Jackson
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Tuesday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kubela and promised “unwavering” support for Ukraine.
Austin said the U.S. is working closely with allies to “find a way to avoid further conflict.” Echoing earlier comments from deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, he added that Putin “can still avoid a full blown, tragic war of choice.”
– Katie Wadington
The European Union on Tuesday followed Germany’s freezing of the Russia-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline with sanctions against the Kremlin.
The first set of sanctions takes aim at Duma legislators who voted in favor of recognizing separatist regions in Ukraine, as well as several Russian officials. They also sought to limit Moscow’s access to EU capital and financial markets.
“This package of sanctions … will hurt Russia and it will hurt a lot,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after chairing a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Paris.
– Associated Press
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressed support for U.S. pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“As he escalates his war against Ukraine, Putin must be made to pay a far heavier price than he paid for his previous invasions of Georgia and Ukraine,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
“This should begin, but not end, with devastating sanctions against the Kremlin and its enablers.”
The GOP leader, long considered a hawk on foreign affairs, has for months has been speaking to White House officials regarding action prior to a potential invasion by Russia.
In January, McConnell said the U.S. should have armed the Ukrainian government with “whatever weapons they think they need” to defend themselves against Putin’s forces.
McConnell reiterated on Tuesday how the U.S. and its allies “must ensure a pipeline of support, including arms, flows to Ukrainians resisting Russian aggression.” He added how the Biden administration must move with intention in the coming days.
“The president should waste no time in using his extensive existing authorities to impose these costs,” McConnell said. “Our NATO and EU allies must likewise take action to impose significant costs on Putin.”
– Phillip Bailey
Putin called Tuesday for international recognition of Crimea as part of Russia.
He claimed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula should be recognized globally as legitimate, a reflection of the local population’s choice, likening it to a vote for Kosovo independence. The annexation has been widely condemned by Western powers as a breach of international law.
He also called for an end to Ukraine’s NATO membership bid, suggestion Ukraine should be neutral. The Russian leader also called for a halt to weapons shipments there.
– Associated Press
Russia’s upper house of Parliament has granted Putin’s request for a permission to use military force outside the country. Putin asked lawmakers to formalize a Russian military deployment to rebel regions in eastern Ukraine, a day after the Russian leader recognized their independence.
In a press conference Tuesday, Putin said the move was needed to help in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
– Associated Press
President Joe Biden will speak to the nation about Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon as tensions escalate in the ongoing conflict.
Biden is scheduled to give an update at 1 p.m. from the East Room of the White House. The White House has promised “swift and severe” economic sanctions in response to any Russian invasion.
Biden’s remarks will come as a White House official called Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine an invasion.
– Rick Rouan
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new sanctions against five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals in the latest international backlash to Putin’s decision to send troops into eastern Ukraine.
In a speech to lawmakers Tuesday in the House of Commons, Johnson said Moscow’s actions “amount to a renewed invasion of that country.” The prime minister described the measures as “the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do,” adding the British government is prepared to impose more sanctions if the situation escalates further.
The measures target Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.
Three “very high net worth” individuals were also hit: Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg. Any assets the individuals hold in the U.K. will be frozen, and they will be banned from traveling to the country, while all U.K. individuals and entities will be prohibited from having dealings with them, according to Johnson.
He added Western allies would continue to seek a diplomatic solution “until the last possible moment, but we have to face the possibility that none of our messages have been heeded and that Putin is implacably determined to go further in subjugating and tormenting Ukraine.”
– Courtney Subramanian
A White House national security adviser said Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made it harder to pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but the U.S. would not close the door on diplomacy.
Speaking to CNN’s Brianna Keilar, deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said additional economic sanctions against Russia were forthcoming on Tuesday in response to what he described as “the beginning” of “Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine.”
“What Russia has done has made a diplomatic path much harder to walk down and much less likely,” Finer told Keilar.
He said Russia’s action on Monday “has closed the door even further to diplomacy” as it moved closer to war.
“We are not going to slam that door shut. We continue to believe that is the best way for this conflict to de-escalate rather than Russia continuing down the path to war,” he said. “They have given every indication they are on a different course.”
– Rick Rouan
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government would “reassess” the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which hasn’t begun operating yet.
The $11 billion, Russian-owned natural gas pipeline snakes westward from Russia to northeastern Germany for more than 700 miles under the Baltic Sea. The pipeline was launched in 2015 and follows a similar route to another pipeline, Nord Stream 1, which was completed in 2011.
Owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-controlled company, Nord Stream 2 was completed last year and has the capacity to handle 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year once it becomes operational.
The decision is a significant move for the German government, which had long resisted pulling the plug on the project despite pressure from the United States and some European countries to do so.
Scholz said that the government had decided to “reassess” the certification of the pipeline, which hasn’t begun operating yet, in light of the latest developments.
Germany meets about a quarter of its energy needs with natural gas, a share that will increase in the coming years as the country switches off its last three nuclear power plants and phases out the use of coal. About half of the natural gas used in Germany comes from Russia.
A day after Putin declared Moscow would recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russian lawmakers ratified the arrangement, allowing for the Kremlin to provide military support there.
Putin ordered troops Monday to “maintain peace” in the provinces shortly after recognizing the Russian-backed areas as independent, stoking fears that a Russian invasion could be coming soon. Convoys of armored vehicles were seen rolling across the separatist-controlled territories late Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear if they were Russian.
The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday night at the request of Ukraine, the United States and six other countries, including Russia, which holds the rotating council presidency.
Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo opened the session late Monday with a warning that “the risk of major conflict is real and needs to be prevented at all costs.”
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Putin “has put before the world a choice” and it “must not look away” because “history tells us that looking the other way in the face of such hostility will be a far more costly path.”
Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador demanded that Russia cancel its recognition of the independence of the separatist regions in the east, immediately withdraw its “occupation troops” and return to negotiations.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said Putin acted in response to Ukrainian aggression. He said Russia was open to diplomacy but wouldn’t allow “a new bloodbath in the Donbas.”
China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun called for restraint and a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought to project calm, telling the country in an address overnight: “We are not afraid of anyone or anything. We don’t owe anyone anything. And we won’t give anything to anyone.”
His foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, will be in Washington on Tuesday to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the State Department said.
In a lengthy speech on Monday, Putin justified his decision to recognize the independence of the Russian-backed separatist regions Luhansk and Donetsk. He blamed NATO for the current crisis and called the U.S.-led alliance an existential threat to Russia.
Putin directly threatened pro-democracy activists and civil servants who had led the pro-democracy push in the country after the 2014 revolution ousting a pro-Russian government.
“We know their names, and we will find them and bring them to justice,” he said.
The Russian president also claimed, without evidence, that Ukraine was preparing to develop its own nuclear weapons that could threaten Russia.
Contributing: Matthew Brown, Joey Garrison, USA TODAY; Associated Press