Biden says that ‘Putin chose this war and he will pay’ as US ready to use ‘full force’
Mr Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin an “aggressor” who “chose this war” as he said the US was restricting large Russian banks and targeting families who are close to the Kremlin.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning with a series of missile attacks on cities including the capital Kiev.
Since then, dozens of Ukrainians have been killed, civilians are fleeing their homes, global markets have plunged and Russian forces have seized the site of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The US’s response came in unity with several other nations including the UK after the G7 leaders met on Thursday morning and vowed to roll out “severe sanctions” on Russia.
ICYMI: Highlights from Biden’s speech today
President Biden forcefully condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in an address to the nation on Thursday afternoon, where he announced strong sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Mr Biden said from the White House.
“For weeks, we have been warning that this would happen, and now, it’s unfolding largely as we predicted.
“We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize the long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies.”
Read a recap of the speech from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:
Megan Sheets25 February 2022 04:00
VOICES: Biden doesn’t have a lot of good options
President Biden doesn’t have a lot of good options for handling Vladimir Putin, The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe writes in a new column.
“Long ago, he ruled out sending US troops to help defend Ukraine. There is little appetite for such an intervention among the American public, and Biden was elected having promised to withdraw the country from foreign wars, not start new ones.
“As he told NBC News in an interview shortly before the Super Bowl, it would not do anyone any good to have US troops anywhere near Russian forces. Russia has around 6,250 nuclear weapons, while the US has 5,600.
“He was asked in what circumstances might be send troops to rescue trapped Americans. “There’s not [one],” he said. “That’s a world war — when Americans and Russians start shooting at one another, we’re in a very different world than we’ve ever been in.”
“All of this is wise and smart. But having so loudly ruled out the deployment of US troops — often leaders like to claim “all options” are on the table — it meant the avenues of leverage available to the president were relatively few.”
Megan Sheets25 February 2022 03:00
What are the US sanctions meant to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
President Joe Biden announced his most severe measures yet aimed at the Russian Federation and its leaders, but many Americans remain unclear as to how the US government is specifically working to deter Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Sanctions are typically some of the hardest-to-describe economic measures, as they are often focused on specific persons and entities who themselves do not make the same headlines as world leaders whose actions are often the motivation behind the measures.
Here’s our explainer on what the US announced today:
John Bowden25 February 2022 02:30
Bush and Obama back Biden
Two former presidents have issued harsh condemnations of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – days after a third branded the dictator a “genius”.
George W Bush and Barack Obama released statements on Thursday, hours after Russia began its attack on multiple targets within Ukrainian territory, including its capital city.
In his statement, which followed a strong speech on the issue by his former vice president Joe Biden, Mr Obama accused Russia of launching “a brazen attack on the people of Ukraine, in violation of international law and basic principles of human decency”.
He continued: “People of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia’s actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people.
“And every American, regardless of party, should support President Biden’s efforts, in coordination with our closest allies, to impose hard-hitting sanctions on Russia – sanctions that impose a real price on Russia’s autocratic elites.”
In a statement prior to Mr Biden’s remarks, Mr Bush called the attack “the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II” and said people must “stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future”.
“I join the international community in condemning Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” said Mr Bush. “We cannot tolerate the authoritarian bullying and danger that Putin poses.”
The former leaders’ statements, particularly their words about Mr Putin, were markedly different than the remarks Mr Trump made earlier this week. The Independent’s Megan Sheets reports:
Megan Sheets25 February 2022 02:00
How many US troops could help Ukraine and where are they stationed?
President Biden is reportedly considering moving American troops in Europe further east in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after insisting the US military would not directly enter the conflict.
A senior US official disclosed the alleged considerations to CNN on Thursday morning as Mr Biden convened a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss developments in the crisis.
The US currently has roughly 90,000 troops on the continent, with Mr Biden steadily increasing the concentration in Eastern Europe in recent weeks as Russia ramped up its presence at the Ukrainian border.
The Independent’s Megan Sheets explains where the troops are station as of right now:
Megan Sheets25 February 2022 01:15
Biden promises to ‘limit the pain’ on gas prices
President Biden acknowledged a wave of incoming turbulence for US gas prices and potentially other areas of the economy on Thursday but vowed that his administration would do “everything” it could to minimise the effects felt by Americans.
He made the remarks during a short national address and subsequent q&a session with reporters at the White House, his first address of the type since Russian forces invaded Ukraine late on Wednesday night.
“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that the American people are feeling at the gas pump,” declared the president.
Gas prices around the nation were already reacting to news of the invasion on Thursday. The average price of standard gas in the US rose eight cents on the dollar overnight, according to AAA, and rose by 9 cents for mid-grade fuel.
The Independent’s John Bowden reports:
Megan Sheets25 February 2022 00:30
Biden approval rating hangs in the balance
Ratings released earlier this week – prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – showed more than half of Americans’ weren’t satisfied with Mr Biden’s handling of the crisis.
In a Gallup poll published on Monday, just over a third of Americans said they approved of the White House’s response so far to the Russian aggression towards Ukraine which culminated late Wednesday night in a full-scale invasion of the eastern European nation.
Thirty-six per cent of Americans said that Joe Biden was doing an OK job handling “the situation with Russia”, a number which could slip further in the coming days now that it is clear that Mr Biden and other western leaders failed to dissuade Vladimir Putin from invasion.
Fifty-five per cent disapprove of the president’s handling of Ukraine, and according to the Gallup poll the president’s overall approval rating among Democrats is now at nearly the lowest point of his presidency so far; it currently sits at 79 per cent, down 3 points in a month.
Megan Sheets24 February 2022 23:45
Biden says he never underestimated Putin
President Biden insisted he never underestimated Vladimir Putin when his past comments about the leader were dredged up during a heated Q&A following his remarks on the invasion on Thursday.
Mr Biden was asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy: “Did you underestimate Putin, and would you still describe him the way you did in the summer as a ‘worthy adversary?’”
Mr Biden replied by suggesting that Mr Doocy was twisting his words. “At the time he was – I made it clear he was an adversary and I said he was worthy,” he said. “I didn’t underestimate him.
“And I’ve read most of everything he’s written, did you read -” he began to probe before saying: “I’m not being a wise-guy.”
“You heard the speech he made, almost an hours-worth of speech as to why he’s going to Ukraine,” he continued. “He has much larger ambitions than Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about. And I think that his ambitions are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.”
The Independent’s Megan Sheets and John Bowden report:
Megan Sheets24 February 2022 23:00
WHO director shares ‘grave concern’ for Ukrainian people
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, on Thursday shared heartbreak and “grave concern” for the health of people in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he wrote: “The health system must continue to function to deliver essential care to people for all health issues.
“International humanitarian law calls for protection of health facilities, workers, patients, transport, and supplies. As part of WHO’s role to document attacks on health, we will continue to monitor and report such incidents.
“I call for peace and sustained access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. I’ve released a further $3.5 million from WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies to buy and deliver urgent medical supplies. This adds to supplies we prepositioned in health facilities.”
Megan Sheets24 February 2022 22:30
Blinken says Russia plans to ‘inflict widespread human rights abuses’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered an update on the Ukraine situation before a special meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday, where he warned “all evidence suggests that Russia intends to encircle and threaten Kyiv”.
“And we believe Moscow has developed plans to inflict widespread human rights abuses – and potentially worse – on the Ukrainian people,” he added.
Mr Blinken described Russia’s actions as “an affront to democracy, to human rights, to human decency”.
“The members of this organization and the entire international community now plainly see Russia’s complete abandonment and abdication of the commitments it made to the world – and we will never forget,” he said.
Megan Sheets24 February 2022 22:04