Biden announces sanctions against Russia for invasion of Ukraine

US President, Joe Biden

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the United States will impose its first tranche of economic sanctions against Moscow in response to what he described as “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

“I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response far beyond the steps we and our allies and partners implemented in 2014,” Biden said, a reference to the response that followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea eight years ago. “If Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand to go further with sanctions” against Moscow.

U.S. sanctions will hit “large Russian financial institutions” in a way that will “cut off Russia’s government from Western financing,” Biden said from the White House, adding that similar measures would soon also target “Russian elites” and their family members.

The rollout of sanctions, calibrated as a proportional response to Russian incursions into Ukraine, reflects an effort by Western allies to stay unified as they shift from trying to deter a conflict to containing one.

For several U.S. administrations, the imposition of sanctions has become a favored tool to punish misbehaving world leaders. But the ability of sanctions to change a government’s behavior is murky at best. Sanctions, which usually ban the target from trade or commerce with U.S. entities including banks and freeze the target’s U.S.-based assets, seemed instrumental in bringing Iranian leaders to the negotiating table over their nuclear aspirations.

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