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White House to Join European Union in Sanctioning Vladimir Putin

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Biden administration will now directly sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and members of the Russian security team. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced on Friday. She also indicated that more information may be made available later in the day. This follows a move from the European Union which Madeline had written about on Thursday morning. The body went with more sanctions on early Friday morning. 


Just the day before, Biden had stopped short of imposing the most serious sanctions against Russia, a talking point he caused confusion on, during Thursday's address to the nation. Additionally, the president had illustrated his failure to stand up to Putin.  

When asked on Friday what changed, Psaki's response seemed to rely heavily on following the lead of others. "The president’s strong view and strong principle from the beginning of this conflict… has been to take action in steps in alignment with our European partners and this is evidence of that," she offered.

In highlighting such a response from Psaki, Caroline Vakil of The Hill pointed to a poll from The Washington Poll-ABC News released on Friday which found 67 percent of respondents favored sanctions on Russia, compared to 20 percent who opposed them and 13 percent who had no opinion. This includes 79 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans, and 63 percent of Independents.


Many had been calling on Biden to impose sanctions far sooner, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had introduced a bill last month in the Senate to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which earned a majority of support with a vote of 55-44, but failed to overcome the filibuster. Earlier this week, during his appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Cruz charged that Biden had personally lobbied Democrats to oppose the bill and said that "Joe Biden becoming president is the best thing that ever happened, tragically, for Vladimir Putin."

Biden ultimately imposed sanctions on Nord Stream 2, a move which Cruz praised, on Wednesday, as Katie covered. The move came after German leaders had already imposed sanctions as well.

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