US President Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned the “beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”, announcing economic sanctions on Russia and the distribution of new “defense” weapons to Ukraine.
Also read: Russia threatens to invade Ukraine
By announcing that Russia’s independent Ukrainian territories are now larger than separatist-controlled territories, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “developing justifications to move forward.”
“This is the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he said in a statement from the White House.
Mr Biden announced the “first tranche” of sanctions that would remove Russia from Western funding and target “Russian celebrities” as well as financial institutions.
“We are enforcing broader sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt, which means we are removing the Russian government from Western funding,” he said.
He emphasized that the United States would continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine if Russia “continued its aggression”.
“I authorize the restoration of American troops already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” the chief executive continued.
A senior Pentagon official has said that an infantry battalion of about 800 troops currently stationed in Italy will be relocated to the Baltic states, which will host 20 AH-64 “Apache” attack helicopters.
In addition, eight F-35 latest generation fighter jets will be relocated from Germany to NATO’s eastern flank and 12 other Apaches, usually stationed in Greece, will be sent to Poland, the official anonymous request added.
He said the United States currently has about 90,000 troops in Europe.
Mr Biden recalled that the United States had not given up hope of finding a diplomatic solution.
He said that there is no doubt that Russia is the aggressor charm, so we are aware of the challenges we face. “However, there is still time to avert the worst scenario that will cause enormous suffering to millions of people.”
“We will judge Russia not by its words but by its actions. And whatever Russia does next, we are ready to respond with unity, clarity and confidence. I hope the diplomatic channel remains open,” he concluded.