United States (US) President Joe Biden has announced that they are imposing the first tranche of sanctions against Russia for launching an invasion of Ukraine and warned that more would come if there are further incursions.

In a video, Biden said, “We are implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions and comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. We have cut off Russia’s government from Western financing.” He added that the US will also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members.

Speaking at the White House, the US President lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries [Donetsk and Luhansk] that belonged to his neighbour [Ukraine].”

RELATED STORIES

Biden said that the US would continue to provide “defensive assistance” to Ukraine but has no intention of fighting Russia. He said that the authorised additional movements of US forces are already stationed in Europe to strengthen Baltic allies Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

He further revealed that the decision has been taken by the US and its allies. “I have told Putin to his face more than a month ago that we (US and allies) would act together if Russia invaded Ukraine,” he stated.

According to Russian news agencies, Putin did not watch Biden’s speech and Russia will first look at what the US has outlined before responding, reports Reuters. Previously, Putin said, “They are trying to blackmail us again. They are threatening us again with sanctions” adding that the US just needs “an excuse to impose sanctions”.

The development came a day after Putin recognised pro-Moscow separatist regions Donetsk and Luhansk as independent entities and allowed Russian troops to enter this region.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly called up the country’s reservists and warned that Ukraine could face a battle.

Ukraine is deeply divided, with a large Russian-speaking minority. Since fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014, separatist rebels of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have been accused of being proxies for Russian interests.

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan is going to Russia today (Wednesday) on a two-day visit.