278d ago / 2:58 PM EST
278d ago / 2:47 PM EST

Biden announces new U.S. sanctions on Russia

President Biden announced Tuesday a new tranche of sanctions on Russia.  

"This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine," Biden told reporters during a press conference, adding that he'll be imposing sanctions more severe than those put into effect in 2014.

Biden said the U.S. is implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions and comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. 

"That means we've cut off Russia's government from Western financing," said Biden. "It can no longer raise money from the west and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either."

The sanctions are defensive moves by the U.S. and "we have no intention of fighting Russia," he continued. 

278d ago / 1:56 PM EST

Biden faces bipartisan calls for sanctions

Lawmakers across the political spectrum called on President Joe Biden to impose crushing new sanctions against Russia after President Vladimir Putin deployed troops into two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. 

Some of Biden’s Democratic allies on the Hill pressed him to be clear on America’s response and call Putin’s military actions an unequivocal invasion of a sovereign U.S. ally.

“If you know the history of aggressive dictators, you know it’s critical not to lose clarity. Putin is invading Ukraine. Full stop. He’s done it before, and he will do it again if … we don’t impose full sanctions,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted Tuesday.

278d ago / 1:39 PM EST

Putin's 'surreal' version of Ukrainian history alarms experts

Even seasoned Kremlinologists were alarmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin's belligerent tone as he offered a monologue on why Ukraine has no right to exist.

In a lengthy televised speech Monday, which saw him promise to start with just "a few words about the history of this issue," he gave a lengthy revisionist account in which he claimed that Ukraine was merely a region of the old Russian empire. The modern-day country, he argued, was artificially created by Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin after the Communist revolution of 1917.

In all, Putin’s not-so-brief summary of Ukraine’s past was dismissed as revanchist and inaccurate by historians, and amounted to “a screed of ahistorical grievances,” the former chess champion and arch Putin critic Garry Kasparov tweeted.

Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale University, told MSNBC on Monday that Putin's take was "surreal."

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278d ago / 1:36 PM EST

Russia to evacuate all diplomatic staff from Ukraine 'in the very near future'

Moscow will evacuate all of its diplomatic missions in Ukraine "to protect their lives and safety," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday. 

“In the current circumstances, our first priority is to take care of Russian diplomats and employees of the Embassy and Consulates General," the statement said.  

"To protect their lives and safety, the Russian leadership decided to evacuate the personnel of Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, which will be implemented in the very near future,” it added.