Biden Boldly Defends Ukraine In Latest Speech As Trump Praises Putin

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After Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered troops into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine after announcing Monday evening that he would recognize their independence,” as summarized by CNBC, President Joe Biden (among other moves) got on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to whom the White House says that Biden sought to “reaffirm the commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” (That call took place Monday.) It’s this same Ukrainian leader who was a target of then-President Donald Trump, who sought to pressure the country into conducting investigative efforts that would be politically favorable to his team. Coming to Ukraine’s defense is a different approach.

As the White House put it, Biden ‘strongly condemned Russian President Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the “independence” of the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine’ and “updated President Zelenskyy on the United States’ response, including our plan to issue sanctions.” Biden also “reiterated that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lock-step with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” the administration adds. On Monday, Biden signed an executive order placing harsh economic restrictions on the areas in Ukraine that were recognized by Russian officials as independent countries; that order blocks, among other things, any new “investment in the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine by a United States person, wherever located” and the “importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine,” according to the White House.

On Tuesday, Biden continued to publicly address the situation in Eastern Europe. At the White House, he announced what he called “the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions,” explaining that the measures include “full-blockage sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions, the VEB and their military bank” and “comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt.” So-called sovereign debt refers here to debt incurred by the Russian government, and the sanctions targeted there “will effectively remove the Kremlin from Western financial markets,” CNBC says. Biden called the recent moves to deploy troops into those Ukrainian regions “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” explaining that he had “authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.” Military aid for Ukraine — which the Biden administration has also put forward — was infamously held up by the Trump team amid the campaign of pressure to try and get the country to conduct those investigations.