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President Joe Biden says the fight between Russian and Ukraine is “far from over” but the United States will stand with the Ukrainian people in their “fight for freedom.”
Watch Biden’s remarks in the player above.
Biden’s comments came Wednesday at the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference in Washington.
The U.S. on Wednesday announced a new wave of punishing “war crimes” sanctions on Russia that President Joe Biden said would cramp the country’s economy for years to come. The U.K. quickly followed suit, and more pain was coming from the European Union as the West tightens the economic screws on Vladimir Putin.
Making it personal, the U.S. sanctions singled out the Russian president’s family, targeting his two adult daughters in addition to blocking two key Russian banks.
The latest sanctions underscore the economic pain that Russia faces, as evidence that its troops killed Ukrainian civilians leads to ever harsher penalties by the U.S. and its Western allies that erode Putin’s ability to fight. Biden stressed that the economic consequences could outlast the war.
While rounds of increased sanctions have not forced Putin out of the war, they have put Russia in increasingly desperate economic circumstances as Ukrainian forces withstand his barrages. Key to the effectiveness of the sanctions has been the unity between the U.S. and European nations. And the atrocities revealed in Ukraine have intensified pressure on Germany and other countries to go further and join the U.S. and Lithuania in blocking all Russian energy exports.
WATCH: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas Greenfield on the atrocities uncovered in Ukraine
The U.K. piled on Wednesday with asset freezes against two major banks, a ban on British investment in Russia and a pledge to end dependency on Russian coal and oil by yearend.
The European Union was also expected to soon take additional steps, including a ban on new investment in Russia and an embargo on coal, after the recent evidence of atrocities emerging in the wake of the retreat by Russian forces from the town of Bucha.
The U.S. acted against two of Russia’s largest banks, Sberbank and Alfa Bank, prohibiting assets from going through the U.S. financial system and barring Americans from doing business with those two institutions.
In addition to sanctions aimed at Putin’s adult daughters, Mariya Putina and Katerina Tikhonova, the U.S. is targeting Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin; the wife and children of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; and members of Russia’s Security Council, including Dmitry Medvedev, a former president and prime minister.
The penalties cut off all of Putin’s close family members from the U.S. financial system and freeze any assets they hold in the United States.
Biden was expected to sign an an executive order that would ban new investment in Russia by Americans no matter where they are living. The U.S. Treasury Department was preparing more sanctions against Russian state-owned enterprises, according to the White House.
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