Biden admin developed ‘specific sanctions packages’ for Russian elites and their families, White House says

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Biden admin developed ‘specific sanctions packages’ for Russian elites and their families, White House says

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The Biden administration has developed “specific sanctions packages” for Russian elites and their family members if Moscow invades Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

During the White House press briefing Monday, Psaki told reporters that the specific sanctions efforts are “being pursued in coordination with allies and partners.”

BIDEN WARNS RUSSIA OF ‘SWIFT AND SEVERE CONSEQUENCES’ IF THEY ‘WALK AWAY’ FROM DIPLOMACY AND ATTACK UKRAINE

“The individuals we’ve identified are near the inner circle of the Kremlin and play a role in government decision-making or, at a minimum, are complicit in the Kremlin’s destabilizing behavior,” Psaki explained, noting that “many of these invidious are particularly vulnerable targets because of their deep and financial ties with the West.”

Psaki explained those individuals “would be hurt by sanctions that are tying them to Western financial systems.”

The sanctions packages are “just one piece” of the Biden administration’s effort to “hit Russia from all angles,” Psaki said.

“But there is a package, we have developed specific sanctions packages for both Russian elites and their family members,” she said again.

The details of potential U.S. sanctions against Russia come just hours after President Biden threatened Russia with “swift and severe consequences” should Moscow choose to “walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine,” maintaining that the United States and allies are continuing “to prepare for every scenario.”

The United Nations Security Council met Monday for the first time to address the ongoing Russia-Ukraine situation, where Biden said the United States “presented in detail the full nature of Russia’s threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“We made clear to the international community the full implications of that threat—not just for Ukraine, but for core tenets of the UN Charter and the modern International order,” Biden continued.

“If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith,” Biden continued. “If instead Russia chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences.”

Biden added that the United States and allies “continue to prepare for every scenario.”

“The world must be clear-eyed about the actions Russia is threatening and ready to respond to the risks those actions present to all of us,” he said, noting that Monday’s meeting of the U.N. Security Council is a “critical step in rallying the world to speak out in one voice:  rejecting the use of force, calling for military deescalation, supporting diplomacy as the best path forward, and demanding accountability from every member state to refrain from military aggression against its neighbors.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, Russia attempted to stop the meeting, but its effort failed. Of the 15-member group, 10 nations voted in favor of proceeding with the meeting, while Russia and China voted against and three abstained. 

Russia, though, has denied it intends to launch an attack. Russian officials said NATO must promise not to allow Ukraine to join the alliance, among other demands, which the United States and NATO have rejected.

Biden, during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week, warned of a “distinct possibility” of a Russian invasion in February.

Zelensky, though, said Ukraine is “not seeing any escalation bigger than before,” and said the Russian build up of troops could be an attempt by Moscow to exert “psychological pressure” and sow panic.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE: MOSCOW CRITICIZES WEST DURING UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING: LIVE UPDATES

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that “hysteria promoted by Washington triggers hysteria in Ukraine, where people are almost starting to pack their bags for the front line.”

Russia Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, on Monday, slammed the West, claiming they are trying to will a Ukrainian war into existence. 

“The deployment of Russian troops within our own territory has frequently occurred on varying scales before and has not caused any hysterics whatsoever,” he said. “The discussions about a threat of war is provocative in it of itself.” 

Nebenzya added: “You are almost calling for this, you want it to happen, you are waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality.” 

Nebenzya said that Russia is “constantly rejecting these allegations and this is despite the fact that no threat of a planned invasion into Ukraine from the lips of any Russian politician or public figure over all this period has been made – no such threat has been made.”

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin put 8,500 U.S. troops on high alert for potential deployment to support and reassure NATO allies in Eastern Europe. 

But with regard to Nebenzya’s comments, Psaki said that the Biden administration’s “view is that the door to diplomacy should always be open.” 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Tuesday, which Psaki said is the administration’s “next step” in “diplomatic efforts and engagements.” 

“Regardless of what people’s public rhetoric is, it’s our view that the door diplomacy should always be open,” Psaki said. “And ultimately, the question here is about what President Putin is going to do.”

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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