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    Live updates: Biden announces sanctions against Russia after troops move into Ukraine

    Live updates: Biden announces sanctions against Russia after troops move into Ukraine

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    L: Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on during a joint news conference with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, R: President Joe Biden speaks at a press conference

    Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden

    Sergei GuneyevTASS via Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images


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    2022-02-23T03:58:23Z

    • President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday amid the escalating Ukraine crisis. 
    • Russia sent troops to eastern Ukraine on Monday as a “peacekeeping operation.” 
    • “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Biden said on Tuesday.

    A bipartisan group of 43 lawmakers urges President Biden to get congressional approval before sending troops into Ukraine

    Congress at sunset

    Signees of the letter include progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush, as well as GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar.


    Stock photo via Getty Images



    Forty-three lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to obtain approval from Congress before sending US troops to intervene in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

    The letter, dated Tuesday, was signed by both progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush and Trump-allied GOP representatives, including Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar. The letter calls for Biden to abide by the Constitution and seek congressional authorization before having US troops “engage in hostilities.”

    “We strongly urge your administration to respect the separation of powers, US law, and Congress’s constitutional war powers authority,” the letter reads. 

    Read Full Story

    Ukraine is the frontline of the ‘battle between authoritarianism and values of the free world’ says a Kyiv human rights activist

    russia ukraine

    A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

    Associated Press


    Oleksandra Matviychuk is the chair of the Center for Civil Liberties, a Ukrainian humanitarian NGO founded in 2007, that is largely focused on implementing and pushing for democratic reforms in the country. 

    Since at least 2014, Matviychuk told Insider that the organization has stood directly in Putin’s path and faced consequences. As Russia formalized its occupation of Crimea that year, the organization’s staff was kicked out of areas of Ukraine that increasingly fell under Russian separatist control.

    Today, Matviychuk describes life in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, as surreal with people going about their daily lives, but feeling the Kremlin’s stranglehold even more.

    Insider spoke to Matviychuk about the realities facing Ukrainians on the ground.

    READ FULL STORY

    Ukraine’s Western neighbors are preparing for millions of possible refugees if Russia attacks​​

    Ukrainian citizens wait outside a train.

    Citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic are seen outside a train at a railway station in Debaltsevo during a mass evacuation to Russia’s Rostov-on-Don Region.

    Photo by Valentin SprinchakTASS via Getty Images


    Central Europe is bracing for a possible migrant crisis as Ukraine’s Western neighbors make preparations to welcome millions of refugees in the event of a large-scale Russian invasion into Ukraine.

    Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic have all signaled that they are planning for a surge of incoming Ukrainians as the threat of a Russian attack looms large.

    The United Nation’s refugee agency told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that it has not yet seen increasing numbers of fleeing Ukrainians, but called the ongoing situation “highly volatile.” Some estimates suggest as many as five million people could be displaced in a worst-case scenario, the outlet reported. 

    Video from Eastern Ukraine this week showed thousands of residents in the region evacuating to Russia over fears of impending war. 

    READ FULL STORY

    Blinken calls off meeting with Russian foreign minister

    Anthony Blinken answers questions.

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

    OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


    Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he is pulling out of his planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to recognize disputed Ukrainian territory and vowed to deploy more troops to the region.

    Blinken said the US only planned to go forward with the meeting if Russia did not further invade Ukraine. He added that his decision does not foreclose diplomacy as a whole, vowing that the US and its allies would resume talks if Russia shows its seriousness about pursuing non-military options.

    “Moscow needs to demonstrate that it’s serious. The last 24 hours it has demonstrated the opposite,” Blinken told reporters at a joint news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “If Moscow’s approach changes, I remain and we remain ready to engage.”

    President Joe Biden called Putin’s recent actions the “beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” after Russia recognized two breakaway territories in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent. Moscow later ordered troops it claimed were “peacekeepers” into the region.

    Biden warns Russia that the US will ‘defend every inch of NATO territory’ and says he is moving US troops into the Baltics

    President Joe Biden delivers remarks on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.

    President Joe Biden delivers remarks on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.

    Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images


    President Joe Biden warned Russia that the US and its allies will “defend every inch of NATO territory” during an address on Russia’s recent actions toward Ukraine. 

    He also announced that some US forces will be headed to the Baltic states to bolster NATO positions in the east.

    The president said Russia had effectively announced it was “carving out a big chunk of Ukraine” when it recognized two territories in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent states.

    Read Full Story

    Biden warns Americans that domestic gas prices may rise amid new sanctions

    President Joe Biden arrives to speak to update the situation of the Ukraine-Russia border crisis during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.

    President Joe Biden arrives to speak to update the situation of the Ukraine-Russia border crisis during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images


    President Joe Biden warned Americans that domestic gas prices could rise as the US launched a slew of sanctions against Russia.

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

    He added: “I’m going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at [the] Russian economy, not ours.” 

    According to the US Energy Information Administration, Russia’s economy is very dependent on oil and gas exports. Read Full Story

    Biden announces new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine invasion

    President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022

    President Joe Biden

    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


    President Joe Biden announced sweeping sanctions against Russia over its recent occupation in Ukraine. 

    Biden said the US was imposing “full blocking sanctions” on two large Russian financial institutions — VEB and Russia’s military bank.

    The sanctions also target Russia’s sovereign debt, with Biden saying the US has “cut off Russia’s government from Western financing.”

    “It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” Biden said. Russian oligarchs are also being targeted in the sanctions, Biden said.

    The US president denounced Russia’s recognition of expansive borders sought by separatists in eastern Ukraine, calling the moves “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

    Read Full Story

    US embassy trolls Russia with meme after Putin’s revisionist history rant on why Ukraine is not a real country

    A photograph shows the US Embassy building in Kyiv, on January 24, 2022.

    A photograph shows the US Embassy building in Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 24, 2022.

    Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images


    The US embassy in Kyiv trolled Russia with a meme on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin went on revisionist history tirade on why Ukraine is not a real country.

    A photo posted to Twitter by the embassy shows four photos of religious sites in Kyiv from the years 996 to 1108. Underneath is four photos of a forest with “Moscow” written underneath, and marked with the same timeline. 

    The meme is a reference to a speech Putin gave on Monday where he claimed that Ukraine was a creation of the Soviet Union and part of Russia’s historic territory.  

    Read Full Story

    Putin backs all of rebels’ claims in eastern Ukraine, a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders

    Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Bocharov Ruchei residence on September 29.

    Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images


    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he recognized Moscow-backed separatists’ full territorial claims to eastern Ukraine, marking a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders.

    Putin backed the separatists’ claims to the territory in the eastern province of Donbas where the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are located, according to The Moscow Times.

    “We recognized them. And this means that we recognized all their fundamental documents, including the constitution,” Putin said during a Tuesday evening press conference, according to a translation from The Moscow Times.

    Read Full Story

    European Commission head says Russia ‘manufactured’ the crisis in Ukraine and is ‘responsible’ for its escalation

    President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is talking to media at the end of the second day of an EU Africa Summit on February 17, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

    President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is talking to media at the end of the second day of an EU Africa Summit on February 17, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

    Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images


    The European Commission president said Russia “manufactured” the crisis in Ukraine and is “responsible” for its latest escalation.

    “Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

    She added: “Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation.”

    von der Leyen said the European Commission is working on finalizing a sanctions package. 

    Read Full Story

    Trump slams Biden’s ‘weak sanctions’ on Russia, despite previously suggesting that Russia’s past invasions weren’t a big deal

    Trump

    Former President Donald Trump speaks at a “Save America” rally in Florence, Ariz., on January 15, 2022.

    AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin


    Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized President Joe Biden’s initial sanctions on Russia and questioned whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would have ordered troops into Ukraine during his time in office. 

    “If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all,” Trump said in a statement. “I know Vladimir Putin very well, and he would have never done during the Trump Administration what he is doing now, no way!”

    Trump also expressed outrage over Russia “taking over a country and a massive piece of strategically located land,” a stark contrast to some of his past comments that downplayed Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory.

    Read Full Story

    White House says Russia has launched the ‘beginning of an invasion’ in Ukraine

    Russian troops Ukraine tensions

    Russia ordered troops to cross into rebel-held Ukrainian territory on Monday.

    Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/Associated Press


    The White House said Tuesday that Russia has launched the “beginning of an invasion” in Ukraine following Putin’s order to deploy troops to eastern regions of the country Monday. 

    “We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” deputy national security advisor Jon Finer told CNN. He was referring to Russia moving so-called “peacekeepers” into separatist territories in eastern Ukraine that the Kremlin recognized as independent on Monday. 

    “I think ‘latest’ is important here,” Finer said. “An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is underway. But Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014.”

    “I don’t know how much more clear I can be,” he added. “This is the beginning of an invasion.”

    Read Full Story

    Putin says Minsk accords, which were meant to end war in eastern Ukraine, no longer exist

    Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Alexey Nikolsky/Getty Images


    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that the Minsk peace agreements no longer “exist,” according to Russian state media. 

    The agreements sought to end the war in Eastern Ukraine.  

    “The Minsk agreements do not exist now,” he said, according to a translation from AFP, one day after he formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered troops there. 

    Read Full Story

    Putin calls for recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, among other demands

    Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.

    Alexei Nikolsky/Associated Press


    Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a number of demands on Tuesday, including the recognition of Crimea to be a part of Russia. 

    Putin also called for a halt to weapons shipments to Ukraine and an end to talks of Ukraine joining NATO, both long-standing Russian grievances.

    Putin also baselessly claimed on Tuesday that Ukraine had the capacity to create nuclear weapons. The false claim comes as US officials have warned that Russia is seeking a pretext to invade Ukraine.

    Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world after the fall of the Soviet Union due to a large number of Soviet nukes left behind, NPR reported. However, in 1994, the country agreed to give up the nukes in exchange for the US, UK, and Russia guaranteeing its safety.

    Ukraine has never produced its own nuclear weapons.

    NATO chief says this is the ‘most dangerous’ moment in European security in a ‘generation’

    Jens Stoltenberg

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference during a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

    Olivier Hoslet/Getty Images


    NATO’s secretary general gave a warning Tuesday as the possibility for a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms over Europe. 

    “This is the most dangerous moment in European security for a generation,” Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday. 

    “We urge Russia in the strongest possible terms to choose the path of diplomacy,” Stoltenberg added. 

    Read Full Story

    Russian lawmakers said Putin can use military force abroad

    Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council in Moscow on February 21, 2022.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council in Moscow on February 21, 2022.

    Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images


    Russian lawmakers have given President Vladimir Putin the go-ahead to use military force abroad, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

    The vote passed unanimously and formalizes a military deployment. 

    This move comes a day after Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine as a “peacekeeping” operation and could be the precursor to an invasion.

    Read Full Story

    Jen Psaki praises Germany for shutting down Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline over Russian invasion threat

    Jen Psaki

    White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

    Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images


    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commended Germany for shutting down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline after Russia sent troops to Ukraine. 

    “[Joe Biden] made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward,” Psaki tweeted. “We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement.”

    She added: “We will be following up with our own measures today.”

    Read Full Story

    UK sanctions Russian banks, individuals

    The UK announced sanctions against five


    major banks

    and three individuals on Tuesday in its first move to punish Russia for sending troops to Ukraine. 

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it the “first tranche, the first barrage” of sanctions over its aggression towards Ukraine.

    The five banks are Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank. Three individuals – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg, and Igor Rotenberg – were also named.

    Read Full Story

    Germany axes pivotal Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses a joint press conference with Ireland's Prime Minister following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on February 22, 2022. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on February 22, 2022.

    JOHN MACDOUGALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


    Germany scrapped plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. 

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an address on the Ukraine crisis Tuesday that he is going to “reassess” the certification, a necessary approval for the pipeline to start moving gas from Russia to Europe.

    Read Full Story

    Putin orders Russian troops to eastern Ukraine for ‘peacekeeping’ operation, a major escalation towards a war

    Vladimir Putin Ukraine speech February 21 2022 Donetsk Luhansk recongition

    Vladimir Putin of Russia gives a televised address on Ukraine on February 21, 2022. Shortly after, he recognized the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent and ordered troops there.

    Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images


    Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine on Monday as a “peacekeeping operation,” escalating the conflict between the two countries. 

    Putin signed a presidential decree allowing the “peacekeeping” after he decided to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, two separatist territories that are loyal to Moscow, as independent states rather than a part of Ukraine. 

    Russia has been building up forces around Ukraine for months, while the US and its allies have warned Russia not to invade the country or face severe sanctions.

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