Above Photo: President Biden meets last month with Ukrainan President Voldymyr Zelensky. Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty.
Biden implemented minor sanctions on the Donbas in response to Putin recognizing the breakaway republics.
A US official on Monday signaled that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deployment of troops into the Donbas as “peacekeepers” might not trigger the “massive” sanctions the US has been threatening to hit Russia with if it “invades” Ukraine.
The US has long accused Russia of having troops deployed in the Donbas, which Moscow has denied. A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that Putin’s peacekeeping deployment would “not be a new step” and would only make the Russian presence in the region “more overt.”
In response to Putin’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, the Biden administration imposed minor sanctions that prohibit US citizens from doing business in the two republics. The US official said more sanctions were coming on Tuesday but the comments about Putin’s troop deployment suggest the Biden administration might not implement the harsh sanctions it has been threatening.
The Biden administration has been threatening to try to cut off Russia from the global financial system if it “further invades” Ukraine. Such a move would not only hurt Russia, but also the US’s European allies who rely on Moscow for natural gas.
Hawks in Congress are calling for President Biden to implement the toughest sanctions he can and to try and kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which connects Russia and Germany. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said the sanctions imposed on Monday were “the definition of impotence.”