Sunday, June 23, 2024

POTUS: This is the Beginning of a Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Washington, DC – President Biden announced the first tranche of sanctions on Russia today in response to their actions yesterday, and said that the US will continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates. This includes full blocking sanctions on two large state-owned Russian financial institutions that provide key services crucial to financing the Kremlin and the Russian military: Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Promsvyazbank and their subsidiaries. 

Addressing the nation, President Biden called Russia’s actions a flagrant violation of international law, which demands a firm response from the international community. “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors,” said Biden.  “And because of Russia’s actions, we’ve worked with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 will not — as I promised — will not move forward.”

These sanctions have been implemented in close coordination with our Allies and partners, and further sanctions are in the pipeline if Russia continues its aggression. 

Meanwhile, the US will continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine and reinforce and reassure its NATO Allies, said Biden. 

At the direction of the President, Secretary Austin today ordered the additional movement of US forces currently stationed in Europe to continue support for NATO Allies and the defense of the eastern flank.

These forces — composed of aviation elements and ground forces — will move within the EUCOM Area of Operations to NATO’s northeastern and southeastern flanks in coming days and are expected to be in place later this week, said a senior Defense official.

 These forces comprise an infantry battalion task force of approximately 800 personnel, from Italy to the Baltic region; Movement of up to eight F-35 Strike Fighters, from Germany to several operating locations along NATO’s eastern flank; a battalion of attack aviation — 20 AH-64 helicopters — from Germany to  the Baltic region;  and an attack aviation task force — 12 AH-64 helicopters – will move from Greece to Poland.

These additional personnel are being repositioned to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member states, and train with host-nation forces, said the senior Defense official. They will report to General Tod Wolters, Commander, U.S. European Command.

These are temporary moves, and are part of the more than 90,000 US troops already in Europe on rotational and permanent orders.  

Sanctions

VEB and Promsvyazbank  hold more than $80 billion in assets and finance the Russian defense sector and economic development. These measures will freeze their assets in the United States, prohibit U.S. individuals and businesses from doing any transactions with them, shut them out of the global financial system, and foreclose access to the U.S. dollar.

The US had broadened sovereign debt prohibitions that restrict US individuals and companies from participation in secondary markets for new debt issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. 

Full blocking sanctions have also been imposed on five Russian elites and their family members who benefit from their connections with the Kremlin: Aleksandr Bortnikov (and his son, Denis), Sergei Kiriyenko (and his son, Vladimir), and Promsvyazbank CEO Petr Fradkov. Other Russian elites and their family members are on notice that additional actions could be taken against them. 

Additionally, any institution in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy is a target for further sanctions. As more than 80 percent of Russia’s daily foreign exchange transactions globally are in US dollars and roughly half of Russia’s international trade is conducted in dollars, no Russian financial institution is safe from our measures, including the largest banks. 

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