President Joe Biden in an interview released over the weekend said sanctions don’t take effect immediately and alleged only one alternative exists in dealing with Russia after the country invaded Ukraine.
“You have two options. Start a third world war—go to war with Russia physically—or two, make sure that a country that acts so contrary to international law ends up paying a price for having done it,” Biden said, speaking with political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen before he traveled to Delaware.
“And there’s no sanction that is immediate. It’s not like you can sanction someone and say, ‘you no longer are going to be able to be the president of Russia.’ But I think these sanctions, I know these sanctions, are the broadest sanctions in history,” the Democrat president added.
The Biden administration has imposed a series of sanctions against Russian entities and persons in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The administration has also sent and is planning to send additional aid, including weapons, to Ukrainian fighters.
Biden has refused, at least so far, to send troops to directly assist Ukraine, arguing that doing so would trigger a conflict.
The moves have drawn criticism from some, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who on Sunday asserted sanctions announced against banks in Russia “are riddled with loopholes.”
“I know that they say they sanctioned 80 percent of the banks in Russia—well, Vladimir Putin controls 100 percent of the banks in Russia. He can use the other 20 percent to continue to finance his war machine. It’s time to remove all Russian financial institutions from the international payment system. It’s time to impose sanctions on his oil and gas exports, which he uses as his primary means of financial support,” Cotton said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The senator also said the United States needs to rush weapons from a fresh round of funding Biden administration officials recently announced to Ukraine.
“It should have been done weeks ago. So, better late than never, but the Ukrainians have no time,” he said.
Early Monday, the administration imposed more sanctions against Russia’s central bank and several other Russian entities.
Also over the weekend, Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, a move the United States declined to match while the NATO alliance, which America is a part of but Ukraine is not, emphasized it would not directly help Ukrainian forces.
“This is another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all. We urge Russia to tone down its dangerous rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, said in New York.