President Joe Biden announced he would impose “further consequences” on Russia after Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine, which Biden condemned as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said in a statement late Wednesday. “The United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way.”
Biden said he would outline the punishments in an address to the American people on Thursday, after discussing the unfolding crisis with other Group of Seven leaders in the morning. Administration officials on Wednesday night were still deciding what the next round of penalties would look like, according to a White House official.
The president’s comments signal the US will escalate sanctions on Russia in response to Putin’s decision to conduct a military operation inside Ukraine.
Earlier Wednesday, the White House sanctioned the builder of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate leadership. That came on top of a sanctions package announced Tuesday following Putin’s recognition of breakaway territories in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine as independent states.
Biden did not specify what additional penalties the US would impose. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier Wednesday did not rule out sanctions on Putin himself or a broader set of Russian oligarchs or financial institutions.
Putin announced in a televised speech early Thursday that he had decided to order a “special military operation” to “protect” Donbas, saying the US had crossed the Kremlin’s “red line” by expanding NATO in Eastern Europe. In the speech, Putin said Russia didn’t plan to occupy Ukraine but accused the US of refusing to negotiate on Russia’s security demands.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a tweet early Thursday morning that Russia had “launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
Biden said he would coordinate with NATO allies “to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the alliance.” The US earlier this month sent 3,000 troops to central Europe but the White House has said it has no intention to deploy them in Ukraine.
News of Putin’s move came as the UN Security Council was meeting in emergency session on the crisis. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the council would vote on a resolution condemning Moscow’s actions on Thursday. As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia can veto that resolution.