Joe Biden Sanctions Russia Warning America of the Economic Costs of ‘Defending Freedom’ in Ukraine

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Russia's Putin has recognized the independence of separatist regions in …
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

President Joe Biden announced a series of sanctions on Thursday in reaction to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine, warning of the economic costs Americans would bear as a result.

“Defending freedom will have costs, for us as well, and here at home,” he said during a speech at the White House. “We need to be honest about that.”

The president specifically warned of higher gas prices as a result of the sanctions but promised he would use “every tool” possible to reduce gas and energy prices.

“I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump,” he said.

Biden indicated Tuesday afternoon that Russian President Vladimir Putin had triggered the “first tranche” of sanctions after he “undeniably moved against Ukraine.”

On Monday, Putin recognized the independence of two pro-Russian provinces in Ukraine and sent additional troops into the region for “peacekeeping.”

The White House was initially cautious about whether or not Putin’s actions triggered the full weight of economic sanctions against Russia, but Biden announced his decision to level some sanctions by Tuesday afternoon.

“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belongs to his neighbors?” Biden asked angrily.

The president was 83 minutes late for his scheduled speech detailing the response from the United States to Putin’s action in Ukraine. He said he would sanction the Russian VEB bank and the military bank, as well as cut off Russia’s government from borrowing from Western financial systems.

Biden ridiculed Putin for his speech on Monday defending his actions as a “twisted rewrite of history” and indicated that Putin would continue aggressive actions in Ukraine.

“Nothing in Putin’s remarks indicate any interest in pursuing any real dialogue on European security in 2022,” he said. “He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist.”

The president also threatened additional sanctions if Putin continued to move further into Ukraine.

“If Russia proceeds, it is Russia and Russia alone that bears responsibility,” Biden said.

He boasted his proposed sanctions were “far beyond” those leveled by former President Barack Obama in 2014, promising to work with European allies.

“We are united in support of Ukraine. We are united in our opposition to Russian aggression,” he said.

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