US President Joe Biden, in his address from the White House on Tuesday, announced new sanctions on Russia amid the Ukraine crisis. The Democrat said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s actions, from recognising Ukraine’s seperatist areas as independent entities to deploying troops for ‘peacekeeping’, as the beginning of an invasion. 

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Biden also criticised Putin, saying that Moscow forming diplomatic ties with the rebel-led areas is a violation of international law. 

“I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response, far beyond the steps we and our allies and partners implemented in 2014. And if Russia goes further with this invasion we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions,” Biden said in his White House remarks.

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The president joined the 27 European Union members who unanimously agreed on Tuesday to levy their own initial set of sanctions targeting Russian officials over their actions in Ukraine. Germany also announced it was halting the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia — a lucrative deal long sought by Moscow but criticized by the U.S. for increasing Europe’s reliance on Russian energy.

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“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belongs to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community,” Biden added. 

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The White House had described the events in eastern Ukraine as an “invasion” earlier Tuesday. 

“None of us will be fooled” by Putin’s claims about Ukraine, the US President said.

Biden said he was also moving additional U.S. troops to the Baltic states on NATO’s eastern flank bordering Russia. The prime minster of Estonia and presidents of Latvia and Lithuania on Friday had made a direct plea to Vice President Kamala Harris for the U.S. to step up its presence in the Baltics.

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Biden said the U.S. would impose “full blocking” on two large Russian financial institutions and “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian debt.

“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western finance,” Biden said. “It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”

With inputs from the Associated Press