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.