U.S. President Joe Biden announced sanctions on four major Russian banks on Thursday, which he said hold $1 trillion in assets. "This aggression cannot go unanswered," he said of the country's invasion of Ukraine.
Biden announced new export control measures that could halt half of high-tech imports into Russia, and also said his administration would limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars as well as other currencies, and planned to sanction additional Russian banks including VTB.
At this point, the sanctions on Russia do not include banning the country from the SWIFT banking system.
The option of sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin personally over Russia's invasion of Ukraine remained a possibility, Biden said. "It's not a bluff, it's on the table."
He did not reply to a question about why such personal sanctions targeting Putin were not included in a coordinated set of sanctions announced on Thursday.
As part of the United States' commitment to NATO, he said, the country will be stationing more troops in Germany, but clarified: "Our forces will not be engaged in conflict with Russia in Ukraine."
After weeks of denying plans to invade, Putin justified his actions in an overnight televised address, asserting that the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a false claim the United States had predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion.
- Russian Mothers Say Soldiers Tricked Into Going to Ukraine
- Russia-Ukraine Crisis: U.S., EU Impose New Sanctions as Russian Troops Advance
- Israel Offers Soft Response to Putin's Ukraine Invasion. Does Biden Care?
Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II.