Biden will sanction Putin and Russian foreign minister Lavrov for Ukraine invasion, White House announces

White House announcement follows sanctions on Russian financial institutions

Eric Garcia
Friday 25 February 2022 17:40 EST
Pentagon's John Kirby says Russians are 'not making the progress they thought they would'

The White House announced that the United States would personally sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki made the announcement on Friday amid Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. Ms Psaki said that the decision came after Mr Biden had a conversation had with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The EU and United Kingdom had previously announced sanctions against Mr Putin.

“The United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,” she told reporters in a briefing from the White House.

The sanctions would also include a travel ban, with Ms Psaki saying that more details would be released later.

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the United States had already sanctioned Russian banks that hold about $1 trillion (around £750bn) in assets, adding that it was also blocking four more major banks.

“Every asset they have in America will be frozen,” he said.

Fox News’s Peter Doocy questioned why the United States would sanction Mr Putin and Mr Lavrov while also trusting them to work on a nuclear agreement with Iran.

“What our job here in the United States, and from any government, is to take steps that are in the interest of the American people and the United States of America and part of that would certainly be reducing Iran’s capacity and ability to have a nuclear weapon,” she said. “I think there’s no question about that.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Biden said he met with Nato allies and spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and reiterated its commitment to Article 5 of Nato, which states that an armed attack on one country would be considered an attack on all allies.

“Nato is as united and resolute as it’s ever been, and Nato will maintain its Open Door to those European states who share our values and who one day may seek to join our Alliance,” he said. “As we navigate this crisis, we pledged to work even more closely together in our defense of freedom and the democratic values that imbue our Alliance with purpose and power.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday that Russia’s military assault had “fundamentally changed” the relationship between Moscow and Washington.

Reuters contributed reporting.

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