Biden refuses to say why US is not personally sanctioning Putin after Ukraine invasion

US president vows to cut all communications with Russian leader and make him international ‘pariah’

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 24 February 2022 21:35 GMT
Joe Biden refuses to say when personal sanctions for Vladimir Putin will be put in place

Joe Biden has refused to say why the US is not personally sanctioning Vladimir Putin after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday afternoon, just hours after Russia started attacking cities across Ukraine, Mr Biden announced a set of sanctions against Russia that he claimed would be as damaging as the bombs and bullets being fired by Russian forces.

Mr Biden said he had not spoken with the Russian leader and had “no plans to talk” with him.

“Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will end up costing Russia dearly economically and strategically,” he said.

“Putin will be a pariah on the international stage. Putin’s choice to make a totally unjustifiable war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.”

Mr Biden announced a series of sanctions on Russia.

“This is going to impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time. We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize a long-term impact on Russia and to minimise the impact on the United States and our allies,” he said.

Yet, when he was asked why the US was not personally sanctioning Mr Putin and whether a promise to do so was a “bluff”, he struggled to answer.

“Sir, sanctions clearly have not been enough to deter Vladimir Putin to this point,” he was asked by one reporter. “What is going to stop him? How and when does this end? And do you see him trying to go beyond Ukraine?”

Mr Biden replied: “No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. It has to – it’s going to take time, and we have to show resolve. So, he knows what is coming. And so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them.”

He was then asked if the threat to sanction Mr Putin personally had been “a bluff”.

“If not a bluff, it's on the table,” he said.

When he was asked why he would not sanction him straight away he declined to answer.

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