Biden readying ‘significant’ new sanctions as US official says’ b

Biden is due to speak at 1:00 pm ET from the White House. It will be his first public appearance since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to deploy to separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine.

Biden’s remarks come amid a hardening of the White House language on Russian’s actions Tuesday morning.

“We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine,” US principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said in an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” adding the sanctions imposed Monday were the merely the ” beginning “of the US response.

“An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway,” Finer said. “I’m calling it an invasion.”

That was further than US officials were willing to go on Monday evening, and reflected the growing sense among Biden’s team that a fuller assault on Ukrainian territory would begin shortly.

Putin & # 39 ;s next moves are critical for Ukraine - and Americans

Still, Finer noted Russian troops have been operating in the two separatist regions since 2014, when Russia initiated an incursion into Ukraine, and suggested the latest steps taken by Moscow were an extension of that.

“I think ‘latest’ is important here,” Finer said. “An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is underway, but Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014.”

There are substantial numbers of Russian troops close to the borders with the newly recognized republics. But CNN has not seen social media video nor satellite imagery showing newly arrived Russian units inside either of the separatist-held regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The developments were unfolding as Putin ordered Russian troops into two separatist-held regions of Eastern Ukraine after declaring them independent. Biden, responding in the hours after Putin signed the orders, issued a narrow set of restrictions limiting financial activity in the two regions.

But he was expected to go further a day later after consulting with European allies and processing new information showing Russia continuing apace with preparations for an imminent assault on Ukraine. It was not clear yet what new consequences Biden would impose, or whether they would amount to the entirety of the harsh punishment he and other leaders have been promising should an invasion proceed.

As he was readying the announcement, the US was coordinating with allies in Europe in the hopes of averting a full-scale war. The United Kingdom said Tuesday it was slapping sanctions on five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals following Putin’s decision to recognize two separatist republics.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the sanctions in a statement to the UK parliament on Tuesday, saying Putin was “establishing the pretext for full scale invasion” of Ukraine.

Finer said the forthcoming sanctions amounted to one wave of responses to Russia’s actions that would likely continue as the crisis unfolds.

“We envisioned waves of sanctions that we would roll out on Russia if and as it continues to take steps down the path toward war, which we believe they are doing. We’ve said that there is another way to do this, they could pursue diplomacy. The action they took yesterday was a big step, frankly, away from diplomacy and toward conflict, and we’re going to impose sanctions in response to that, “he said.

This story has been updated to reflect the White House changing the timing of Biden’s address and additional developments on Tuesday.

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