The US imposes sanctions on Russia for annexing Ukrainian lands

The US on Friday sanctioned more than 1,000 people and companies linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

WASHINGTON — The United States and its allies on Friday hit back at Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions and imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 people and companies, including arms supply networks, as President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin he could not “get away with” the seizure . Ukrainian country.

The Russian annexation, although expected, An already heated conflict that has become escalates fraught with potential nuclear implications.

Biden said his administration will support any Ukraine efforts to retake the annexed territories by force, thereby setting the stage for further hostilities. And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced his country’s “accelerated” bid to join the NATO military alliance, a plan unsupported by the US or other allies that could add fuel to the fire.

“America and its allies will not be intimidated by Putin and his reckless words and threats,” Biden told reporters. He added that Putin “cannot conquer his neighbor’s territory and get away with it.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian cities and regions was not unexpected after this week’s referendums that the West called a sham. And the US and Western allies had anticipated what their response would be.

But developments have dramatically increased tensions to a point not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago during the Cold War.

Biden had opposed the annexation plans at the UN General Assembly last week, where a large majority of other members also said respecting the territorial integrity of all nations would not allow Russia to attack any of the nearby NATO members without itself one to provide a strong military response.

“America is fully prepared, ready to join our NATO allies in defending every inch of NATO territory. Every inch,” Biden said. “So Mr. Putin, don’t get me wrong. Every inch.”

While the Biden administration has identified suppliers of Russia’s weapons and battlefield high-tech as a priority, many of Friday’s other sanctions were consistent with penalties already imposed on thousands of Russian individuals and companies and may have comparatively little impact on the population war effort. The government hopes they will serve to further erode support for Putin’s invasion among the Russian elite.

Meanwhile, the US and its European allies are rushing to finalize an agreement on what they hope will do more harm to Russia’s economy: a cap Russia’s maritime oil exports that would undermine the prices that Putin can charge for his country’s oil around the world.

For now, Biden said the new U.S. fiscal sanctions, similar to those of like-minded countries, will incur heavy costs for people and businesses “politically or economically supporting illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory.” The sanctions apply to countries, individuals or companies that assist or do business with Russian-backed authorities in the newly annexed territories.

Echoing Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US “unequivocally rejects Russia’s fraudulent attempt to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. … This is a clear violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”

“No one is fooled by what Moscow has done,” Blinken told reporters at a joint news conference with Canada’s visiting foreign minister. “The whole process surrounding these sham referendums was a complete farce. That territory is and will remain Ukraine, and Ukraine has every right to defend its country, to defend its people and to take back the territory that Russia took from it.”

This indicates that the US will support the Ukrainians with arms and ammunition to help them in military actions to retake the annexed territories. The US has in the past warned Ukraine against using American weapons against Russian territory.

Blinken also spoke out against Putin’s nuclear threats.

“This loose talk about nuclear weapons is the height of irresponsibility and we take it very seriously,” he said. “To date,” he said, the US has not seen that “Russia is actually doing anything that suggests considering using nuclear weapons.”

“All I can tell you is that we plan against every possible scenario, including this one.”

Biden also lashed out at Putin’s comments on Friday accusing the West of sabotaging Russian-built natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The Nordic nations said the underwater explosions that damaged pipelines this week and have led to huge methane leaks included hundreds of pounds of explosives.

The president said the US and its allies were still working to determine who was responsible for the blasts, but angered Putin over his allegation.

“Let me say this, it was a deliberate act of sabotage,” Biden said. “And now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies.”

As for a broader guarantee of protection, Ukraine has sought NATO membership for years, but has not yet been admitted due to concerns about its national governance. As a result of the Russian invasion, Finland and Sweden have applied for accelerated accession to the alliance.

The White House said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to highlight the “firm US and NATO commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Earlier, following Putin’s announcement, the White House, along with the State Department, Treasury Department and Commerce Department, announced the new sanctions in a series of coordinated statements. The sanctions add to escalating punishments against Russia and its proxies since the invasion began on February 24.

The Treasury Department designated hundreds of members of Russia’s parliament, leaders of the country’s financial and military infrastructure, and suppliers to sanctions provisions that include asset freezes and bans on Americans from doing business with them. The Commerce Department has placed 57 companies on its export control violators list, and the State Department has placed more than 900 people on its visa ban list, making them ineligible to travel to the United States.

Since the invasion began, the US and European nations have imposed significant fines on Russia, its leadership and wealthy oligarchs linked to Putin. The allies have targeted the central bank reserves that support Russia’s economy and have disconnected many Russian banks from a vital global financial network called SWIFT.

The war has devastated the global economy and has contributed to massive disruptions in energy and food supplies around the world. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said this week the global economy is expected to lose $2.8 trillion in output in 2023 because of the conflict.

Putin is undeterred. He warned that Russia will never give up the absorbed territories – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts – and will protect them as part of its sovereignty.

Both chambers of the Russian parliament will meet next week to approve the treaties for the regions’ accession to Russia. The US imposes sanctions on Russia for annexing Ukrainian lands

Laura Coffey

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