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- 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
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.
Ukraine’s Western neighbors are preparing for millions of possible refugees if Russia attacks
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.
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 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.
Biden warns Americans that domestic gas prices may rise amid new sanctions
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.”
Biden announces new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine invasion
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.”
US embassy trolls Russia with meme after Putin’s revisionist history rant on why Ukraine is not a real country
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.
Putin backs all of rebels’ claims in eastern Ukraine, a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders
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.
European Commission head says Russia ‘manufactured’ the crisis in Ukraine and is ‘responsible’ for its escalation
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.
Trump slams Biden’s ‘weak sanctions’ on Russia, despite previously suggesting that Russia’s past invasions weren’t a big deal
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.
White House says Russia has launched the ‘beginning of an invasion’ in Ukraine
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.”
Putin says Minsk accords, which were meant to end war in eastern Ukraine, no longer exist
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.
Putin calls for recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, among other demands
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’
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.
Russian lawmakers said Putin can use military force abroad
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.
Jen Psaki praises Germany for shutting down Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline over Russian invasion threat
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.”
UK sanctions Russian banks, individuals
The UK announced sanctions against five
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.
Germany axes pivotal Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe
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.
Putin orders Russian troops to eastern Ukraine for ‘peacekeeping’ operation, a major escalation towards a war
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.