President Joe Biden has been sharply criticized from all angles as far as his lackluster response to Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
While that criticism is completely justified, the White House finally became more aggressive in its approach to the situation, as it was revealed Friday that the U.S. government is expected to directly sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian National Security team, the Daily Caller reports.
The move is significant as it will mark the first sanctions that are directly targeted at the Russian dictator, as the previous two rounds of sanctions have virtually done nothing to stop Putin’s advance into Ukraine.
Targeting Putin directly likely won’t end the war, but it will finally be a show of force, together with members of the European Union, that the West is ready to bring down the hammer — at least on paper.
It’s not yet known exactly what Putin will face in the way of direct sanctions by the West, but an announcement on Friday indicated that Putin and his top operatives will likely feel the ramifications.
“Following a telephone conversation President Biden held with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and in alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian National Security team,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
She added that such options have “been on the table” for some time, but only admitted that the third round of sanctions were decided within the past 24 hours.
The announcement came after reporters from typically Biden-friendly outlets hammered the president during his speech to the nation on Thursday regarding why he hadn’t yet targeted Putin specifically.
Some believe that even targeting Putin himself with sanctions won’t matter, as it’s more than likely he bolstered his position to prepare for the expected sanctions long before he launched the invasion into Ukraine.
“They’ve had time”
“The issue here is they’ve had time to plan for this,” said Bruce Jentleson, a former State Department official and professor of public policy at Duke University, with regard to Putin and Russian oligarchs targeted in Western sanctions.
“There’s been a lot of moving of assets out of reach of those sanctions, out of London, out of American-affiliated banks and the like,” he added.
Biden has vowed not to get U.S. troops involved directly in a ground war with Russia, but it was announced on Saturday that the U.S. will be sending some $350 million worth of military aid to Ukraine in the coming days as natives of the country continue to push back the Russian invaders.