How does the international community react to Putin’s actions? 1:24
(WABNEWS) –– The President of the United States, Joe Biden, addressed the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday and announced new sanctions against Russia. The move comes after a senior US official spoke of the “beginning of an invasion” of Ukrainian territory, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
This is the First apparition Biden’s public since Putin ordered the deployment of troops in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine.RELATED
How far Biden was willing to go to punish Russia for its latest actions was uncertain before his comments. However, US officials anticipated a set of sanctions against Putin’s inner circle and Russia’s financial system should an attack on Ukraine go ahead.
Ukraine-Russia crisis: is the threat of a Third World War real? 7:13
But there were signs that Biden might not be able to impose the full scope of those possible sanctions just yet. Precisely in the hope of continuing to use them as leverage to dissuade Putin from the feared bloody and sustained attack that US officials have warned about for weeks.
It’s the “beginning of an invasion”
Biden’s comments come amid tougher White House language on Russia’s actions Tuesday morning.
“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion. Russia’s most recent invasion of Ukraine,” US Senior Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said in an interview with “New Day.” WABNEWS.
And he added that the sanctions imposed this Monday are the “beginning” of the United States response.
“An invasion is an invasion and that’s what’s happening,” Finer said. “I’m calling it an invasion,” she insisted.
Another senior US official, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that Russia’s actions “are the beginning of Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine.”
“They are totally unprovoked and unwarranted,” Sherman said. “Moscow calls these troops ‘peacekeepers,’ but we all know that is a lie.”
That went further than US officials were willing to go on Monday night and reflected a growing sense among Biden’s team that a fuller assault on Ukrainian territory would soon begin. Officials said continued signs of Russian aggression overnight led to a change in tone.
Still, Finer noted that Russian troops have been operating in the two breakaway regions since 2014, when Russia began an incursion into Ukraine. In that sense, he suggested that the latest steps taken by Moscow were an extension of that.
“I think ‘latest’ is important here,” Finer said. “An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is happening. But, Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014.”
There are a considerable number of Russian soldiers near the borders with the newly recognized republics. But WABNEWS has seen no social media videos or satellite images showing newly arrived Russian units inside the separatist-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.