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Biden announces new sanctions as Russia attacks Ukraine

This image provided by The White House via Twitter shows President Joe Biden at Camp David, Md., earlier this month.
This image provided by The White House via Twitter shows President Joe Biden at Camp David, Md., earlier this month.

President Biden is expected on Thursday to issue a new round of economic sanctions meant to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for attacking Ukraine.

Biden warned of a "catastrophic loss of life and human suffering" as Russian-backed separatists invaded Ukraine.

Watch Biden live here for remarks scheduled to begin at 12:30 ET:

What's been the reaction from the White House to Russia's attack on Ukraine?

Biden has condemned the "unprovoked and unjustified" attack.

"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering," Biden said in a statement. "Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring."

He pledged that the United States and its allies will hold Russia accountable.

New sanctions are expected to take aim at cutting Russia off from critical technology

Sanctions that Biden announced Tuesday were just the start.

The first wave of sanctions against Russia targeted two Russian financial institutions along with the government's ability to access Western financing. There were also sanctions against the Russian-owned company building the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

Biden has warned that these were the first "tranche" of sanctions and that the administration would ratchet up the response based on Russia's next steps. Senior administration officials say the the group of Russian elites and their family members who are being sanctioned have "shared in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin, and they will now share in the pain."

But the White House has warned that it was ready to cut the biggest Russian banks out of Western markets. And the administration is working on export controls, which would block Russia from buying semiconductors and other technology.

Other Russian elites and oligarchs could be targeted, too.

Meanwhile, the administration and bipartisan members of Congress have been discussing providing additional assistance to Ukraine and allies and partners.

"No financial institution is safe," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday.

Biden also spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy

They two spoke about what Biden called the "flagrant aggression" of Putin. Biden said that he condemned the attack by the Russian military and would be taking steps to rally international condemnation against the Russian government.

The U.S. president also said that America would continue to provide help to Ukraine.
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Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.
NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
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