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Joe Biden announces US sanctions on Russia amid ongoing Ukraine crisis

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U

S President Joe Biden announced “the first tranche” of sanctions he is taking against Russia on Tuesday, in response to Vladimir Putin ordering troops into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine.

This includes sanctions against Russian elites and their family members, as well as two Russian banks.

Mr Biden said the two banks being targeted were Russia’s VEB bank and the country’s military bank, Promsvyazbank, which handles defence deals.

The sanctions are also being imposed against Russia’s sovereign debt, with Mr Biden telling reporters: “We have cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West.”

He also said the US was deploying around 800 additional troops and equipment into the Baltic region to bolster the states.

Speaking from the White House on Tuesday evening, Mr Biden started the news conference by saying that the Russian leader had “bizarrely claimed” two regions he recognised as independent states are no longer part of Ukraine.

He said the latest developments are “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” and a “flagrant violation of international law” which required a firm response.

The US leader also warned Moscow that it would “pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression”

Speaking from Washington, the President said he had been in “constant contact” with European leaders on how to respond “in unison” to any threat from Russia.

“Yesterday the world heard clearly the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewrite of history,” he said.

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