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'Complete rupture' in US-Russia relations if Moscow continues on this path: Joe Biden on Ukraine attack

Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected every "good-faith effort" made by the US and its allies to address mutual security concerns through dialogue to avoid needless conflict.

February 25, 2022 / 06:04 AM IST
US President Joe Biden (Image: AFP)

US President Joe Biden (Image: AFP)

President Joe Biden said there is a "complete rupture" in the relationship between the US and Russia if Moscow continues on the path it is on and that Washington and its partners will impose severe costs on the Russian economy.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected every "good-faith effort" made by the US and its allies to address mutual security concerns through dialogue to avoid needless conflict. Biden, who announced a series of tough economic sanctions against Russia, was addressing reporters at a White House news conference, the first after Russian forces entered Ukrainian territories, on Thursday.

"There is a complete rupture right now in US-Russian relations if they continue on this path that they are on," Biden said. He said the Russian military has begun a brutal assault on the people of Ukraine.

"Without provocation, without justification, without necessity, this is a premeditated attack. Vladimir Putin has been planning this for months as we've been saying all along. He moved more than 1,75,000 troops, military equipment in positions along the Ukrainian border," the president alleged. He said the Russian military has begun a brutal assault on the people of Ukraine.

Putin moved blood supplies into position and built a field hospital, which speaks of his intentions all along. He rejected every "good-faith effort" the United States and its allies made to address mutual security concerns through dialogue to avoid the needless conflict and avert human suffering, Biden said.

"For weeks, for weeks we have been warning that this would happen. And now, it's unfolding largely as we predicted. In the past week, we've seen shelling increase in the Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The Russian government has perpetrated cyberattacks against Ukraine," he added.

Biden said the international community saw a staged political theatre in Moscow, outlandish and baseless claims that Ukraine was about to invade and launch a war against Russia, that Ukraine was prepared to use chemical weapons and that Ukraine committed genocide without any evidence.

"We saw a flagrant violation of international law in attempting to unilaterally create two new so-called republics on sovereign Ukrainian territory," he said, referring to Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.

"And at the very moment that the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine's sovereignty to stave off invasion, Putin declared his war. Within moments, missile strikes began to fall on historic cities across Ukraine. Then came the air raids, followed by tanks and troops rolling in. We've been transparent with the world," said the president.

The United States has shared classified evidence about Russia's plans and cyberattacks and the false pretext to prevent any confusion or cover-up of Putin's actions.

"Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences. Today, I'm authorising additional strong sanctions and new limitations on what can be exported to Russia," Biden said. Reiterating that this is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy both immediately and over time, he said the US has purposely designed these sanctions to maximise the long-term impact on Russia and to minimise the impact on itself and its allies.

"I want to be clear. The United States is not doing this alone. For months, we've been building a coalition of partners representing well more than half the global economy," Biden said. He said the US has been working with 27 members of the European Union, including France, Germany, Italy, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and many others to amplify the joint impact of its response.

Earlier in the day, Biden spoke with the G-7 leaders. "We were in full and total agreement. We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds, and yen to be part of the global economy," he said.

"We're going to stunt the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impose major (costs) and we're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy. "We've already seen the impact of our actions on Russia's currency and the ruble, which early today hit its weakest level ever, ever in history," he said.

Biden claimed the Russian government's borrowing rates spiked by over 15 per cent. "In today's actions, we've now sanctioned Russian banks that together hold around USD 1 trillion in assets. We've cut off Russia's largest bank, a bank that holds more than one-third of Russia's banking assets by itself, cut it off the US financial system," he said.

The US has also blocked more major banks. These include VTB, the second largest bank in Russia, which holds USD 250 billion in assets. "Now we're going to apply the same restrictions to Russia's largest state-owned enterprises, companies with assets that exceed USD 1.4 trillion," Biden said.

Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine on Wednesday night. Russia has launched multiple attacks on several areas in central and eastern Ukraine.

first published: Feb 25, 2022 06:04 am