United States President Joe Biden on Thursday announced new sanctions on Russia a day after the latter launched an attack on Ukraine.
“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is the aggressor,” Biden said at a media briefing. “Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences.”
The sanctions are aimed at five major Russian banks, including the government-backed Sberbank and VTB. Sberbank and VTB and the largest and second-largest banks in Russia respectively.
The five banks that have been sanctioned together hold around $1 trillion dollars in assets, according to Biden.
The United States president also announced limitations on exports to Russia. He said that these measures will impose severe costs on Russia’s economy, both immediately and over time.
The export restrictions will apply to a range of items including electronics, semiconductors and aircraft components, according to Reuters.
In response to a question, Biden on Thursday added that the option of imposing personal sanctions on Putin is “not a bluff” and is on the table.
The United States President noted that his country was not alone in taking such actions, and that it has been building a coalition of partners “representing well more than half of the global economy” for this purpose.
Meanwhile, Biden said that the United States is in consultation with India about the latter’s stand on the conflict. “We haven’t resolved that completely,” he said, in response to a question.
Earlier in his remarks to the media, Biden said that any country “that countenances Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association”.
Commenting on Biden’s announcements, United States’ Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that the United States president should have imposed stringent sanctions early to deter an attack, according to Reuters. “Sadly, deterrence after the fact is not deterrence at all,” he said.
Russia shut off from civilised world: Ukraine president
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia’s attack on his country has shut Moscow off from the civilised world, Kyiv Post reported on Friday
“What do we hear today?” Zelenskyy said. “It’s not just rocket explosions, fighting and the roar of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain lowering and closing Russia off from the civilised world. Our national task is to make sure this curtain does not fall on our territory but on the homes of Russians.”
He said that he and his family have become targets but promised to remain in Ukraine amid the crisis.
Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in a conflict since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebellions in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.