President Biden has announced new sanctions on Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine unprovoked.
President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled harsh new sanctions on Russia meant to punish the country for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin for his aggression even as he acknowledged it would take time for the new measures to alter Putin's behavior.
"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences," Biden said, laying out a set of measures that will "impose a severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time." The new sanctions include export blocks on technology, a centerpiece of Biden's approach that he said would severely limit Russia's ability to advance its military and aerospace sector. He also applied sanctions on Russian banks and "corrupt billionaires" and their families who are close to the Kremlin.
Biden insisted his threat to directly sanction Putin remains "on the table" and is "not a bluff," but he didn't answer when asked why he hasn't directly sanctioned the Russian president yet. Asked by CNN's Kaitlan Collins what could stop Putin if sanctions can't, Biden responded, "I didn't say sanctions couldn't stop him."
"The threat of the sanctions ... imposing the sanctions and seeing the effect of the sanctions are two different things," Biden said. "He's going to begin to see the effect of the sanctions." The new sanctions targets are not limited to Russia. The US also went after individuals in Belarus, including the country's defense minister, for that country's role in facilitating the Russian attack.
These sanctions are just ones that affect only a certain thing, or maybe a small group of things. Why doesn't the US just ban Russia—specifically the elite oligarchs—from trade entirely?