NATO To Meet Friday In Show Of Solidarity
President Joe Biden said the U.S. and its NATO allies will meet Friday to “map out” their next move to counter Moscow after Russian troops invaded Ukraine early Thursday.
The president said the U.S., the 30-member alliance and other close partners will proclaim their solidarity and will take measures to “further strengthen” their resolve in discouraging Russian aggression in Europe.
“Within hours of Russia’s unleashing its assault, NATO came together and authorized and activated an activation in response plans,” the president said in an address to the nation. “This will enable NATO’s high readiness forces to deploy when and where they’re needed.”
Following Russia’s incursion Thursday, Biden authorized the deployment of 7,000 troops to Germany. They will join the thousands of U.S. troops that were previously deployed to NATO-member nations in Eastern Europe like Poland and Romania.
“This is a dangerous moment for all of Europe, for the freedom around the world,” Biden said.
Biden along with NATO allies have repeatedly said they will not send forces into Ukraine to engage with Russia militarily. The president reiterated that these forces serve as a deterrent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “naked aggression.”
“He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union,” Biden said.
In addition to the deployment of additional forces in Europe, Biden announced another tranche of sanctions that target Russian banks that cumulatively hold roughly $1 trillion in assets.
These sanctions followed the first round of penalties levied by the U.S. Wednesday, with roughly $80 billion in assets frozen when Washington targeted VEB bank and Promsvyazbank – both of which have ties to the Kremlin and Russia’s military.
Russian elites and their families have been added to the growing list of sanctioned individuals.
Biden refused to answer questions as to why Putin himself has not yet been targeted by these sanctions.
“We will make sure that Putin will be a pariah on the international stage. Any nation accountable in Russia’s naked aggression against Ukraine will be stained by association,” Biden said.
Ukraine called on the U.S. and NATO Thursday to ban Russia from the SWIFT international banking system – which would effectively block Russia from top financial networks.
However, this measure was not included in the second round of sanctions announced by the president either.
Biden argued that by targeting the banks Russia will feel an “equal consequence” to that of being removed from the international banking system.
“It is always an option but right now, that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take,” he added, suggesting this could be included in a later round of sanctioning.
Biden said the sanctions are designed to impose severe costs on the Russian economy immediately and over time.
“We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize a long-term impact on Russia,” Biden said. But added, “If we don’t move against him now with these two significant sanctions he will be emboldened.”