Russia-Ukraine crisis live updates: Biden announces sanctions as Putin steps up aggressions

The Russian president ordered troops into Ukraine after he formally recognized two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in the eastern part of the country.


President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the first wave of sanctions on Moscow as Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to be stepping up aggressions toward Ukraine, moving troops into two breakaway areas of eastern Ukraine and asking lawmakers to authorize his using troops overseas.

Putin framed the troop movement as a “peacekeeping” effort, but the Kremlin's decision came after Russia massed some 150,000 troops on its neighbor's borders, triggering dire warnings from the West that an invasion was imminent and that Moscow was trying to create a pretext for an attack.

The Biden administration has begun describing Russia’s movement of troops as “an invasion," and canceled a planned meeting between the country's top diplomats.

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217d ago / 10:35 PM EST

Australia joins list of countries imposing sanctions on Russia

Australia joined the United States, the European Union, Canada, Germany and Britain to impose sanctions on Russia after Moscow ordered troops into separatist regions in Ukraine and recognized them as independent entities.

Australia will immediately begin placing sanctions on Russian individuals it believes were responsible over the country's actions against Ukraine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a news briefing Wednesday local time.

"Australians always stand up to bullies, and we will be standing up to Russia, along with all of our partners," he said. "I expect subsequent tranches of sanctions, this is only the start of this process." 

Japan also announced that it would impose sanctions.

217d ago / 9:49 PM EST

Homeland Security chief says no specific cybersecurity threats against U.S., urges vigilance

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that his agency had no evidence to suggest the U.S. faces an imminent cyberattack threat from the Kremlin amid Russia's escalation in Ukraine.

But Mayorkas stressed that the agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, are working with state and local officials as well as private companies to share information about threats.

"We have no information to suggest a specific credible cyber threat against the U.S. homeland, but it is our responsibility to be prepared," Mayorkas said in a video tweeted Tuesday night.

Experts have warned that Russia's considerable cyberwar capabilities could be used to respond to U.S. pressure. Ukraine has already endured a few recent cyberattacks, including one that took down major government and financial websites.

217d ago / 9:16 PM EST

Canada, Japan announce sanctions on Russia

The prime ministers of Canada and Japan have announced they will impose sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that his government will ban Canadians from all financial dealings with the so-called independent states of Luhansk and Donetsk. Canada will also ban Canadians from engaging in purchases of Russian sovereign debt, he added.

Trudeau said his government will sanction members of the Russian parliament who voted for the decision to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as independent.

Canada will apply additional sanctions on two state-backed Russian banks and prevent any financial dealings with them, Trudeau said. He also said he was authorizing additional troops to the region.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that sanctions will include prohibiting the issuance of Russian bonds in Japan and freezing the assets of certain Russian individuals.

Kishida, who also called on Russia to return to diplomatic discussions, said he did not see a significant impact on energy supplies in the short term from the current situation and said further steps would be considered should the situation worsen.

The United States, the European Union, Germany and Britain also announced ways they will punish Russia financially as they fear a further incursion is to come, a move Moscow has consistently denied for months.

217d ago / 7:52 PM EST
217d ago / 8:17 PM EST

GOP fissures over Russia, Ukraine highlight wider foreign policy divisions

As congressional Republican leaders push President Joe Biden to act more forcefully to punish Vladimir Putin for sending troops into Ukraine, former President Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies have been praising the Russian leader's style of power.

The fissures point to a growing divide in the Republican Party, between traditional foreign policy hawks who have advocated for a more confrontational U.S. posture to the Russian strongman and a Trump-aligned “MAGA” faction that has expressed some sympathy for Putin's tactics or described them as effective.

On Tuesday, the same day an interview of Trump praising Putin's moves as "genius" was published, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a very different tone by tearing into “Putin’s aggression” and urging Biden to take quick and aggressive action.

Read the full story here.