Biden: Putin ‘wants to reestablish the former Soviet Union,’ will pay a heavy price

US President Joe Biden addresses the nation about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. (Twitter screenshot)
US President Joe Biden addresses the nation about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. (Twitter screenshot)

In an address to the US nation, Biden assails Putin and accuses him of a “flagrant violation of international law.”

Recounting the intelligence his administration has been declassifying and sharing with US allies over the past few weeks, as Russia geared up for war, Biden says, “We’ve been transparent with the world… so that there can be no confusion or cover-up about what Putin was doing.”

He accuses the Russian leader of planning the invasion for a long time and of lying to create pretexts for his actions in Ukraine.

“Putin is the aggressor, Putin chose this war,” Biden says, predicting that the Russian leader “will be a pariah on the international stage.”

“He has much larger ambitions than Ukraine. He wants to reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is all about,” he charges.

The US president, whose address comes after a meeting earlier today with leaders of the G7 group of nations, warns that powerful sanctions will exact a “severe cost” from Russia’s economy, “both immediately and over time.”

“We’ve been building a coalition of partners representing well over half of the global economy,” he says. “We’re in full and total agreement. We will limit… Russia’s ability to participate in the global economy.”

He says the steps imposed in coordination with Europe will block top Russian banks from the US financial system and “cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports.”

The penalties fall in line with the White House’s insistence that it will look to hit Russia’s financial system and Putin’s inner circle, while also imposing export controls that aim to starve Russia’s industries and military of US semiconductors and other high-tech products.

But Biden, for now, holds off on imposing some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe, or Russia’s energy sector.

On the military front, he vows to defend “every inch” of NATO territory, but reaffirms that no American troops will be deployed to Washington’s ally.

“As I made crystal clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with a full force of American power,” Biden says.

The president adds, however: “Our forces will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”

— With Agencies.

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