"Putin Chose This War" Says US President Joe Biden After Announcing New Sanctions On Russia

Biden denounced Vladimir Putin's decision to move forward with the invasion. In a speech at the White House earlier, Biden told the nation: "Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences."

Biden announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian financial institutions and elite families.

The sanctions call for Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, to be severed from the US financial system, restricting the bank's access to transactions made in the American dollar.

Full sanctions will also be imposed on four other financial institutions, including Russia’s second-largest bank of VTB, freezing all of their US-based assets.

But Biden did not call for Russia to be banned from the Swift banking system, and he is not issuing direct sanctions on Putin, as some lawmakers have called for.

Biden said some European leaders do not support cutting off Russia's access to Swift, and he claimed direct sanctions on Putin were still possible, although he did not explain why he is not taking that step now.

The US is deploying additional troops to Germany, although Biden made clear that he would not send service members to Ukraine. "Our forces are not, and will not be, engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine," Biden said.

"Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east."

During her evening press briefing, Jen Psaki said the US was prepared to take Ukrainian refugees, though she expected the vast majority would prefer to remain in Europe.

Asked about Putin's references to Russia's nuclear arsenal, Psaki said: "We don't see any increased threat in that regard at the present time."

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