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Biden unveils new sanctions on Russia, says Putin wants to revive Soviet Union

President Joe Biden delivers a statement on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Thursday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
1 of 6 | President Joe Biden delivers a statement on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Thursday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Russia on Thursday, slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin for his "assault on the very principles that uphold global peace."

Biden's remarks came after his meeting with the leaders of the the Group of Seven nations hours after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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"This is going to impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time," Biden told reporters at the White House. "We have purposefully designed these sanctions to maximize long-term impact on Russia and to minimize the impact on the United States and our allies."

The new sanctions target several Russian banks that hold about $1 trillion in assets, as well as Russian elites and their family members.

"These are people who personally gain from the Kremlin policies and they should share in the pain," Biden said.

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Biden had warned Moscow about crippling sanctions for weeks before the invasion of Ukraine. Biden announced an initial round of sanctions related to the standoff on Wednesday.

"This is a dangerous time for all of Europe, for freedom around the world," he said.

"Putin has committed an assault on the very principles that uphold the global peace, and now the entire world sees clearly what Putin and his Kremlin allies are really all about.

"This was never about genuine security concerns on their part. It was always about naked aggression, about Putin's desire for empire by any means necessary."

Biden accused Putin of attempting to revive the former Soviet Union.

"He has much larger ambitions than Ukraine. He wants to, in fact, re-establish the former Soviet Union. That's what this is about. And I think that his ambitions are completely ... contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived."

In a speech Monday, Putin falsely claimed that Ukraine was stolen from Russia when it declared independence in 1991, and that it only exists because it was created by former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

"Modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia, to be more precise the Bolshevik, communist Russia," Putin said.

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"This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia -- by separating, severing what is historically Russian land."

Biden told reporters that sanctions specifically against Putin are "on the table."

Biden spoke Wednesday night with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone.

"President Zelenskyy reached out to me tonight and we just finished speaking. I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council.

"He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin's flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine."

The president added that the United States "will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people."

Biden said Thursday he also authorized additional U.S. force capabilities to deploy to Germany as part of NATO's response to the Russian invasion. He said he also spoke with U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley about preparing for additional moves should they prove necessary.

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A Defense Department official told reporters after Biden's speech that an additional 7,000 U.S. service members would be sent to Europe.

"This would comprise an armored brigade combat team with associated capabilities and enablers," the official said, according to CNN. "They will deploy to Germany to reassure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression and be prepared to support a range of requirements in the region. We expect them to depart in the coming days."

Biden reiterated that U.S. troops will not fight against Russia in Ukraine, but will defend NATO allies.

"As I made crystal clear -- the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power," he said.

"NATO is more united and more determined than ever. There is no doubt ... that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article 5 commitments, which says that an attack on one is an attack on all."

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers have died since Russian forces entered Ukraine, according to The New York Times -- and Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelensky, said Kiev's military was in defense mode.

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