A lowdown on Biden pushback amid Russia aggression in Ukraine
- Earlier, Biden had announced a set of sanctions against Moscow targeting its economy that mark a direct escalation of a sweeping effort by the west to respond to Russia's actions by putting diplomatic appeals to one side.
In the latest move to step up pressure on Russia over Ukraine, the Joe Biden-led US administration has said that it's adding more punitive measures - to the sanctions on the Kremlin - by directly targeting Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the step was taken in coordination with its allies of the European Union and Britain. This came a day after the EU had announced similar steps against Putin and his top officials. For Joe Biden, the Ukraine war is one of the toughest challenges in his presidential term with Russia trying to strengthen its geopolitical position.
Earlier, Biden had announced a set of sanctions against Moscow targeting its economy that mark a direct escalation of a sweeping effort by the west to respond to Russia's actions by putting diplomatic appeals to one side. "President Putin and Minister Lavrov are directly responsible for Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful further invasion of Ukraine, a democratic sovereign state," the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The Biden administration has taken a hard stand since the Kremlin launched a full-scale invasion in Ukraine. The military attack killed 137 on day 1 in Ukraine while forcing more than 50,000 locals to flee the country in just 48 hours, news agency AFP reported. However, the US President has refused to send troops to Ukraine to push back Russian forces. "Our forces will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine," he has made it clear.
On Friday, US President Biden joined an emergency NATO summit to strengthen the Western response. Addressing Americans in a White House speech on Thursday, Biden maintained a firm stand as he reiterated his commitment to defend Europe. "As I made crystal clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with a full force of American power," he said.
The administration has attempted to condemn Russia for its actions through sanctions. This week, he announced sanctions on Russian banks, members of the elite, and the company in charge of building the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany. In Friday's briefing, the Biden administration also announced that several members of Russia's National Security Council including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, will also be sanctioned.
"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," Biden said on Friday.
Simultaneously, he has been also holding calls with world leaders and Ukraine President for a coordinated "anti-war coalition" against Russia. He has been also holding regular calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about strengthening sanctions and defence assistance.
However, Ukraine has said that sanctions alone are not the answer. Biden admitted as much on Friday that the sanctions won't be able to stop Putin.
It's yet to be seen if the US moves can create a significant difference as Russia wages war on Ukraine.
Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The Stockholm-based SAS airline group said it had “voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S., a legal process for financial restructuring conducted under U.S. federal court supervision.” Filing for Chapter 11 in New York puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances.
UK cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday resigned from their positions saying that have they lost confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid resigned within minutes of each other. Javid also posted the same on Twitter. Johnson has been hit by allegations he failed to come clean about a lawmaker who was appointed to a senior position despite claims of sexual misconduct.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart this week in Indonesia at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 bloc of the world's leading industrialised nations, the State Department said Tuesday.
The city of Xian in northwest China's Shaanxi province will be locked down from Wednesday, following a community outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5, the first cases of the Covid subvariant in China, becoming the latest challenge to the country's zero-Covid policy. While in-house dining has been suspended, take-aways will be allowed, authorities said. “Special places such as prisons, welfare homes, and old-age institutions will be closed for management,” a state media report said.
The Dutch parliament approved legislation to establish work-from-home as a legal right, making the Netherlands one of the first countries to grant remote working flexibility by law. The legislation was approved by the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands on Tuesday. It still needs a nod from the Dutch senate before its final adoption.