Ukraine-Russia Live News: Latest Updates and Video

Here is a slightly edited transcript of President Biden’s speech Tuesday from the East Room of the White House announcing new sanctions against Russia for what he called “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Good afternoon. Yesterday Vladimir Putin recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states. And he bizarrely claimed that these regions were no longer part of Ukraine and that they were sovereign territory. To put it simply: Russia has just announced that it is carving out a large chunk of Ukraine.

Last night Putin allowed Russian forces to deploy to these areas. Today, he claimed that these regions actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian government. It sets up a justification for taking more territory by force in my opinion. And if we listen to his speech last night, and many of you did, I know, he sets up a rationale to go much further. This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he has indicated and requested permission to do so from his Duma.

So, let’s start to – so, I’m going to start imposing sanctions in response well beyond the steps that we and our allies and partners implemented in 2014. And if Russia goes further with this invasion, we are ready to go further as with sanctions. Who, in the name of the Lord, Putin thinks, gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors?

This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community. Over the past few months, we have worked closely with our NATO allies and partners in Europe and around the world to prepare for this response. We have always said, and I told Putin across the way more than a month ago, that we would act together and as soon as Russia acts against Ukraine. Russia has now undeniably acted against Ukraine by declaring these states independent.

So today I am announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our allies and partners. We will continue to escalate sanctions if Russia steps up. We are implementing full blocking sanctions against two major Russian financial institutions, VEB and their military bank.

We are putting in place sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. This means that we have cut off the Russian government from Western funding. It can no longer raise money in the West and can no longer trade its new debt on our markets or on European markets.

Starting tomorrow, and in the days to come, we will also impose sanctions on Russian elites and their family members. They share the corrupt gains of Kremlin policies and should also share the pain.

Due to Russia’s actions, we have been working with Germany to ensure that Nord Stream 2 will not advance as I promised. As Russia considers its next move, we have also prepared our next move. Russia will pay a higher price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions. The United States will continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine in the interim and will continue to reinforce and reassure our NATO allies.

Today, in response to Russia’s admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I authorized additional movements of American forces and equipment already stationed in Europe, to reinforce our Baltic allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Let’s be clear: these are totally defensive measures on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia. But we want to send an unequivocal message that the United States, together with its allies, will defend every square inch of NATO territory and honor the commitments we have made to NATO.

We still believe that Russia is about to go much further by launching a massive military attack on Ukraine. I hope I am wrong about this and I hope we are wrong about this, but Russia has only escalated its threat against the rest of Ukrainian territory, including major cities and the capital, Kiev. More than 150,000 Russian soldiers still surround Ukraine.

As I said, Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, including warplanes and offensive missile systems. Russian troops have moved closer to the border between Ukraine and Russia. Russian Navy ships maneuver in the Black Sea south of Ukraine, including amphibious assault ships, missile cruisers and submarines. Russia has moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position at the border. You don’t need blood unless you plan to start a war.

Over the past few days, we have seen much of the playbook Secretary Blinken presented to the United Nations Security Council last week come to fruition. A major increase in military provocations and false flag events along the line of contact in the Donbass, dramatically staged, conveniently on camera, a meeting of Putin’s security council to get himself noticed by the Russian audience. And now the political provocation to recognize sovereign Ukrainian territory, the so-called independent republics, in flagrant violation, once again, of international law.

President Putin has asked the Russian Parliament for permission to use military force outside Russian territory. And that set the stage for a new pretext for further provocations by Russia to try to justify further military action.

None of us, none of us should be fooled. None of us will be fooled. There is no justification. Further Russian attacks on Ukraine remain a serious threat in the days to come. If Russia continues, it is Russia and Russia alone that bears the responsibility. As we respond, my administration is using every tool at its disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump.

As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us too and here at home. We have to be honest about this. But as we will – but as we will, I will take strong action to ensure that the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy and not ours.

We are monitoring energy supplies for any disruptions. We are executing a plan in coordination with major oil consumers and producers towards collective investment to ensure stability and global energy supply. It’ll–it’ll blunt gasoline prices. I want to limit the pain that Americans feel at the gas pump. It is essential for me.

Over the past few days, I have been in constant contact with European leaders, including Ukrainian President Zelensky. Vice President Harris met in person with German leaders over the weekend at the Munich conference, including President Zelensky. At every step, we have shown that the United States and our allies and partners are working in unison, which Mr. Putin did not count on.

We are united in our support for Ukraine. We are united in our opposition to Russian aggression. And we are united in our determination to defend our NATO alliance. And we are united in our understanding of the urgency and gravity of the threat Russia poses to global peace and stability.

Yesterday the world clearly heard the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewriting of history. Going back more than a century, as he eloquently quoted that, well, I’m not going to go into detail – nothing in Putin’s lengthy remarks indicates an interest in pursuing a genuine security dialogue. European in the year 2022.

He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. It has indirectly threatened territory once held by Russia, including nations that are now thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met. And there is no doubt that Russia is the aggressor.

So we have clear eyes on the challenges we face. Nevertheless, there is still time to avoid the worst-case scenario that will cause untold suffering for millions of people if they move as suggested. The United States and our allies and partners remain open to diplomacy, if serious.

In the end, we will judge Russia by its actions, not its words. And whatever Russia does next, we stand ready to respond with unity, clarity and conviction. I will probably have more to say about this as time goes on. I hope diplomacy is still available.

Thank you very much to all.

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