278d ago / 4:47 PM EST

U.S. Treasury releases details of sanctions on Russia

The Treasury Department has released the details of the new sanctions that President Joe Biden ordered against Russia. 

"Treasury is targeting Russia’s ability to finance aggression against its neighbors by sanctioning the Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company (PSB), along with 42 of their subsidiaries," said the agency in a statement Tuesday. 

The sanctions will immediately impair the ability of the two banks to perform basic functions in the international financial system and constrain Russia’s ability to finance defense-related contracts and raise new funds to finance its campaign against Ukraine, said the agency. 

Biden said the sanctions will also target Russian elites and their family members in an effort to make sure people close to Putin "share the pain."

Treasury also said it is designating influential Russians and their family members in Putin’s inner circle believed to be participating in the Russian regime’s kleptocracy, including the Chairman and CEO of PSB.

“Today’s actions, taken in coordination with our partners and allies, begin the process of dismantling the Kremlin’s financial network and its ability to fund destabilizing activity in Ukraine and around the world,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement. 

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278d ago / 4:33 PM EST

U.S. approves moving troops in Europe to shore up defense of NATO allies

At the direction of President Joe Biden, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the movement of U.S. troops currently stationed in Europe to continue support for NATO Allies and the defense of the eastern flank, according to a senior defense official. 

These forces, comprised of aviation elements and ground forces, will move within the United States European Command area of operations to NATO’s northeastern and southeastern flanks in coming days and are expected to be in place later this week, the official said.

The additional troops are being repositioned to "reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member states, and train with host-nation forces." 

These moves are temporary and affect only the more than 90,000 U.S. troops already in Europe on rotational and permanent orders. 

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278d ago / 4:28 PM EST

Trump praises Putin's move in Ukraine as 'genius'

Former President Donald Trump praised Putin's aggressive moves against Ukraine as "genius" and "very savvy" in a podcast interview Tuesday. 

"I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, 'This is genius.' Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful," Trump told conservative podcaster Buck Sexton. 

"I said, 'How smart is that?' And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force... We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right," Trump continued. "Here’s a guy who’s very savvy... I know him very well. Very, very well."

Trump went on to criticize Biden's handling of the crisis and claim Russia's invasion of Ukraine would not have happened while he was in office. He did not offer any explanation or evidence for the claim, nor did he explain what he would do differently now.

"You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad," Trump added. "I knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride. But the way he — and he loves his country, you know? He loves his country."

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278d ago / 4:21 PM EST

Biden administration taking 'deliberate' action to avoid harming U.S. economy

In a call with reporters after President Joe Biden’s speech, a senior administration official stressed that the White House was taking “deliberate” action to make sure that the new sanctions against Russia had minimal impact on the U.S. economy.

Any disruption in the supply of energy from Russia, one of the world’s largest energy suppliers, could drive up gas prices in the U.S., which is already facing the highest inflation rate in decades. 

The official suggested that the Biden administration would have more to announce in the coming days about a coordinated effort with oil consumers and producers to make sure that global energy supplies remain stable.

The official said that halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — which they described as a “prized” Russian investment that would have been a “cash cow” for Moscow — would help to reduce Europe’s “addiction to Russian gas.”

Asked why the White House was confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be responsive to the sanctions announced Tuesday, the official said that sanctions “work over time” and that “the pain is mounting in Russia.”

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278d ago / 4:23 PM EST

Biden spoke to Ukraine's foreign minister, said U.S. is committed to Ukraine's sovereignty

President Biden spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday to reaffirm the U.S.'s commitment to the country's "sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

Biden also updated Kuleba on the executive order he issued Monday night and the latest sanctions announcement, according to the White House. 

He also affirmed that the U.S. would "continue providing security assistance and macroeconomic support to Ukraine."

"President Biden reiterated the readiness of the United States, in close cooperation with our Allies and partners, to respond swiftly and decisively to any further Russian aggression against Ukraine," the White House said. 

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