Wednesday, February 8

Sanctions on Putin are still “on the table,” Biden says

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(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden said direct sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin are still “on the table” while taking questions from reporters at the White House.

“It’s not a bluff. It’s on the table,” he said, responding to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

He did not answer when she asked why he was not personally sanctioning Putin today.

Biden also said he has no plans to talk to Putin after outlining the steps the US is taking to retaliate against the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Biden said removing Russia from SWIFT is not the direction the rest of Europe wants to go in at this moment. 

Biden said removing the nation from SWIFT, a high security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world, is “always an option,” but said, “right now, that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take.”

“The sanctions that we’ve proposed on all their banks are of equal consequence, maybe more consequence than SWIFT,” Biden said. 

Removing Russia from SWIFT would make it nearly impossible for financial institutions to send money in or out of the country. It would deliver a shock to Russian companies and their foreign customers — especially buyers of oil and gas exports denominated in US dollars. 

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday urged the West to ban Russia from SWIFT in a tweet. Earlier on Thursday, CNN reported that the EU was undecided as to whether to cut Russia off from SWIFT and that EU nations were split over the decision. 

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