President Biden spoke to the nation on Friday, saying outright that the US and NATO "will not fight a direct war against Ukraine." He was asked by reporters about the potential use of Russian bio-chemical weapons, and said Russia would "pay a severe price" for doing so.
Biden gave the remarks after speaking with Ukraine's President Zelensky, saying that he praised Ukrainians for "their bravery as they bravely fight to defend their country."
Biden took aim at Russia's President Putin, who had initiated the invasion of neighboring Ukraine more than two weeks ago. He said that the US and her allies and partners would "continue to work in lockstep to ramp up the economic pressures on Putin and to further isolate Russian on the global stage."
As such, he said, "we're going to jointly announce several new steps to squeeze Putin and hold more people more accountable for his aggression against Ukraine."
These include: removing the "most favored nation" status that Russia has previously enjoyed. This will make it harder for Russia to engage in trade with US allied nations. Seafood, diamond, and vodka imports from Russia will be banned as well.
Biden said that in addition, Russia will not be able to borrow to fund their war against Ukraine, as the G7 seeks to "deny Russia the ability to borrow from leading multinational institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank."
"Putin is an aggressor," Biden said. "He is the aggressor and Putin much pay the price. He cannot pursue or threaten the very foundations, which he's doing, of international peace and stability, and then ask for help from the international community."
The G7 will also be "stepping up pressure on corrupt Russian billionaires," Biden said, noting that "new names" would be added to the existing list of "oligarchs and their families that we're targeting." These folks, he said, "are part of the kleptocracy that exists in Moscow, and they must share the pain of the sanctions." Vacation homes, super yachts, and other assets would be targeted. Luxury exports to Russia will also be banned.
"The United States and our closest allies and partners are acting in unison," Biden said.
"The ruble has lost more than half its value," Biden said, "they tell me it takes about 200 rubles equal $1 these days. The Moscow Stock Exchange has been closed for fully for two weeks because they know the moment it opens it will probably collapse," Biden said of the financial implications of the sanctions to the Russian economy.
As to Ukraine and aid to that nation, Biden said the US and allied are makign sure "the Ukrainian people are are able to defend their own nation." The US "has sent more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine over the last year, including anti-armor and anti-air capabilities taking on tanks and planes and helicopters," Biden said.
This is in addition to this, Biden said that there are "significant shipments of security systems from our allies and partners to Ukraine," and noted that humanitarian aid, as well, is being sent, some of which was approved by Congress this week in a large spending package. Ukrainian refugees, Biden said, will also be welcomed to the US.
"I also want to be clear, though, we will make sure Ukraine has weapons to defend against an invading Russian force. We will we will send money and food and aid to save the Ukrainian people. And I will welcome Ukrainian refugees," he said, going on to say that "we'll defend every single inch of NATO territory of the full might of the United galvanized NATO."
But, Biden said, "We will not fight a war against Russia and Ukraine. Direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War Three. Something we must strive to prevent."
Biden predicted that Putin would lose this war against Ukraine, and that the "world is united" against Putin and his war.
"The American people united, the world is united, and we stand with the people of Ukraine. We will not let autocrats would-be emperors dictate the direction of the world. Democracies are rising to meet this moment, to rally in the world to the side of peace on the side of security. We're showing our strength and we will not falter," Biden said.
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