(CMR) US President Joe Biden announced strong sanctions against Russia, including freezing the country's assets, on Thursday after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said in an address from the White House.
“For weeks, we have been warning that this would happen, and now it's unfolding largely as we predicted,” President Biden added.
“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.”
The US president said that the United States had already sanctioned Russian banks that hold about $1 trillion (around £750bn) in assets, adding that it was also blocking four more major banks.
Mr. Biden said he had spoken with the G7 leaders, who had kicked Russia out of what was then the G8 in 2014 following its seizure of the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The president said the United States was closely monitoring energy supplies and urged energy companies not to take advantage of the situation.
“This was never about a genuine security concern,” he said.
Many Republicans echoed Mr. Biden's sentiments in blaming Mr. Putin for the war in Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is reckless and evil,” house minority leader Kevin McCarthy said. “The United States stands with the people of Ukraine and prays for their safety and resolve. Putin's actions must be met with serious consequences. This act of war is intended to rewrite history, and more concerning, to upend the balance of power in Europe. Putin must be held accountable for his actions.”