Russian envoy to US claims sanctions will hurt global markets and “ordinary Americans”
From CNN’s Darya Tarasova in Moscow and Samantha Beech in Atlanta
Moscow’s ambassador to the United States has hit back at the imposition of sanctions on Russia by President Joe Biden, suggesting the move would hurt global financial and energy markets as well as ordinary citizens.
“I don’t remember a single day when our country lived without any restrictions from the Western world. We learned how to work in such conditions. And not only survive, but also develop our state,” said Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, according to a post on the Russian Embassy Facebook page early Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that the sanctions imposed against us will hurt the global financial and energy markets,” he added. “The United States will not be left out, where ordinary citizens will feel the full consequences of rising prices.”
“With regard to Moscow, new US sanctions will not solve anything, Russia has learned to work and develop under restrictions.”
Context on the sanctions: Biden laid out what he called a “first tranche” of US sanctions against Russia for its actions in eastern Ukraine, including on two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites and their family members. He said the sanctions would effectively “cut off Russia’s government from Western finance.”
Biden pledged that his administration is using “every tool at our disposal” to limit the effect on gas prices in the US, acknowledging that Americans will likely see rising prices at the pump in the coming months.
Read more about the US sanctions here.
Ukrainian foreign minister: “No sanctions will be enough” until Russian forces leave Ukraine
From CNN’s Shawna Mizelle
Ukraine’s foreign minister on Tuesday said that “no sanctions will be enough” until Russian forces leave Ukraine, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two separatist regions in the country as independent and announced he would deploy “peacekeeping” forces there.
“No sanctions will be enough until Russian boots withdraw from Ukrainian soil,” Dmytro Kuleba told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
Earlier Tuesday, President Joe Biden unveiled tough new sanctions to punish Moscow, describing the events underway in Ukraine as “the beginning of a Russian invasion.” Kuleba told Tapper those sanctions are “just the beginning of the process of deterring President Putin and making him withdraw,” adding that it “certainly won’t be enough.”
Kuleba, asked by Tapper what he thinks Putin’s intentions are, said Tuesday that Putin’s “ultimate goal is to destroy Ukraine.”
“He is not interested in parts of Ukraine. He is not interested in even keeping the entire country in his control. He wants idea of the Ukrainian statehood to fail,” the foreign minister continued.
Japan to impose sanctions against Russia
From CNN’s Junko Ogura in Tokyo
Japan will impose sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.
Kishida said Japan will suspend the issuance of visas and freeze the assets of people involved in recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, the two separatist-held pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine.
Kishida did not specify names or how the sanctions would be carried out.
He also said Japan will ban imports and exports to and from Donetsk and Luhansk, and prohibit the issuance and circulation of Russian bonds in Japan. Kishida added that the details of the sanctions will be discussed further.
Kishida said Russia’s actions had “clearly” violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law and urged Russia to resolve the situation through a diplomatic process.
Biden says Russia is beginning an “invasion of Ukraine” as he unveils sanctions on Moscow
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
President Joe Biden described events now underway in Ukraine as “the beginning of a Russian invasion” as he unveiled tough new sanctions to punish Moscow on Tuesday.
He laid out what he called a “first tranche” of US sanctions against Russia for its moves, including on two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites and their family members. He said the moves would effectively “cut off Russia’s government from Western finance.”
Biden also announced he was moving additional troops and equipment to “strengthen” US allies in the Baltic nations on NATO’s eastern flank, but made clear they would not be there to “fight Russia.”
The President held out the possibility that diplomacy could still defuse the crisis, and said the US would remain open to talking with Russia and its partners to avert all-out war. “The United States and our allies and partners remain open to diplomacy, if it is serious,” he said. “When all is said and done, we’re going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words.”
Still, Biden made plain his view that Putin was launching a bid to fundamentally redraw borders in Europe, violating international laws and putting pressure on the West to respond.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community,” Biden said.
Biden said Putin’s remarks a day earlier were “setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view.”
Read more here.
Blinken says meeting with Lavrov is off after Russia moves on Ukraine
From CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva this week, he announced Tuesday, in the latest sign that diplomatic avenues with Russia over Ukraine are quickly closing.
“Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time,” Blinken said at the State Department on Tuesday. “I consulted with our allies and partners — all agree.”
Blinken’s announcement comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two separatist regions in Ukraine as independent and announced he would deploy “peacekeeping” forces there. US President Joe Biden and top US officials said Tuesday that Putin’s moves marked the beginning of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Biden announced a first tranche of sanctions in response.
Blinken said he sent a letter to Lavrov on Tuesday to inform him of the decision.
He said the US remains committed to diplomacy “if Russia is prepared to take demonstrable steps to provide the international community with any degree of confidence it’s serious about deescalating and finding a diplomatic solution.”
Germany halts Nord Stream 2 and Russia responds with a stark warning
From CNN’s Charles Riley and Julia Horowitz
The West showed Tuesday it was ready to target Russia’s huge energy industry — even at the risk of hurting itself — after Moscow ordered troops into parts of eastern Ukraine.
Germany said it was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline following Moscow’s actions in eastern Ukraine on Monday.
“With regard to the latest developments, we need to reassess the situation also with regard to Nord Stream 2. It sounds very technocratic but it is the necessary administrative step in order to stop certification of the pipeline,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Berlin.
The 750-mile pipeline was completed in September but has not yet received final certification from German regulators. Without that, natural gas cannot flow through the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and several EU countries have opposed the pipeline since it was announced in 2015, warning the project would increase Moscow’s influence in Europe.
Nord Stream 2 could deliver 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. That’s more than 50% of Germany’s annual consumption and could be worth as much as $15 billion to Gazprom, the Russian state owned company that controls the pipeline.