U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday (February 22) new sanctions in retaliation for Russia recognizing two breakaway regions of Ukraine and sending troops there, adding to Western efforts to stop what they fear is the beginning of a full-scale invasion.
The measures target Russian banks and sovereign debt, among other steps.
One of the worst security crises in Europe in decades is unfolding as Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized sending what he calls peacekeeping troops to separatist areas of Donetsk and Luhansk after recognizing them as independent.
Weeks of intense diplomacy have so far failed as Moscow calls for security guarantees, including a promise that its neighbor Ukraine will never join NATO, while the United States and its allies offer Putin confidence-building and arms control steps.
“He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force,” Biden said at the White House.
Biden added that, “there’s still time to avert the worst case scenario.”