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Joe Biden was slammed for publicly absent over Ukraine last night as Russia launched an all-out war early this morning – and he is not expected to make an address for several more hours.

The President condemned Vladimir Putin‘s ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack ‘ in a statement posted soon after war was declared at 11.43pm.

But after being accused of ‘weakness’ in the face of Russian aggression, he was urged to hit Russia and Vladimir Putin’s inner circle with tougher sanctions ‘as soon as possible’.

Biden was ‘monitoring the situation’ from the White House overnight but is yet to make a public address or an appearance and won’t make an address until midday – 12 hours after war began.  

Former President Donald Trump was scathing of Biden’s response, telling Fox News in a wild interview that Biden was ‘probably in bed right now’ rather than monitoring developments. 

Biden was most recently pictured on Tuesday, February 22 as he announced sanctions against Russia from the East Room of the White House.

Since declaring war at 4.43am local time, Russian forces have swept into Ukraine in simultaneous attacks from the south, east and north, with bombs raining down from the sky over the Donbas and Luhansk regions. The death toll on the Ukrainian side has hit at least 40, according to officials.

The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism for so far only sanctioning five Russian figures in Putin’s inner circle and hitting only two Russian banks. Senator Ted Cruz describes the sanctions as ‘appeasement that only increases the chances of military conflict.’

It is hoped however more significant sanctions could be agreed unilaterally when Biden holds an emergency meeting with G7 leaders later this morning. 

Joe Biden was slammed for being missing in action over Ukraine last night as Russia launched an all-out war in the early hours - and the President is not expected to make an on-camera address for several more hours. Pictured: Biden in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday

Joe Biden was slammed for being missing in action over Ukraine last night as Russia launched an all-out war in the early hours - and the President is not expected to make an on-camera address for several more hours. Pictured: Biden in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday

Joe Biden was slammed for being missing in action over Ukraine last night as Russia launched an all-out war in the early hours – and the President is not expected to make an on-camera address for several more hours. Pictured: Biden in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday

Biden was 'monitoring the situation' from the White House overnight as explosions lit up the night sky over Kiev (pictured this morning) but is yet to make a public address or an appearance and won't make an address until midday - 12 hours after war began

Biden was 'monitoring the situation' from the White House overnight as explosions lit up the night sky over Kiev (pictured this morning) but is yet to make a public address or an appearance and won't make an address until midday - 12 hours after war began

Biden was ‘monitoring the situation’ from the White House overnight as explosions lit up the night sky over Kiev (pictured this morning) but is yet to make a public address or an appearance and won’t make an address until midday – 12 hours after war began

A blast in Sumy, eastern Ukraine, strikes what appears to be an arms depot which exploded, lighting up the night sky

A blast in Sumy, eastern Ukraine, strikes what appears to be an arms depot which exploded, lighting up the night sky

A blast in Sumy, eastern Ukraine, strikes what appears to be an arms depot which exploded, lighting up the night sky

Russian forces have swept into Ukraine in simultaneous attacks from the south, east and north, with bombs raining down from the sky over the Donbas and Luhansk regions. Five Ukrainians have been killed. Pictured: A checkpoint of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in Kyiv region that was shelled

Russian forces have swept into Ukraine in simultaneous attacks from the south, east and north, with bombs raining down from the sky over the Donbas and Luhansk regions. Five Ukrainians have been killed. Pictured: A checkpoint of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in Kyiv region that was shelled

Russian forces have swept into Ukraine in simultaneous attacks from the south, east and north, with bombs raining down from the sky over the Donbas and Luhansk regions. Five Ukrainians have been killed. Pictured: A checkpoint of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in Kyiv region that was shelled

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Pro-Russian rebel forces pushed out from the occupied Donbass region, capturing two villages and claiming to have shot two Ukrainian jets out of the skies. The port cities of Mariupol and Odessa, where Ukraine’s main naval bases are located, were also attacked. Pictured: Missile strike in Ivano Frankivsk, in Ukraine’s west, as smoke and flames rise into the sky

'Hundreds' of Ukrainian troops were killed in early clashes, and official said, as the fight came to them on all fronts at a moment's notice. Official figures put the death toll at 40, with 'dozens' wounded

'Hundreds' of Ukrainian troops were killed in early clashes, and official said, as the fight came to them on all fronts at a moment's notice. Official figures put the death toll at 40, with 'dozens' wounded

‘Hundreds’ of Ukrainian troops were killed in early clashes, and official said, as the fight came to them on all fronts at a moment’s notice. Official figures put the death toll at 40, with ‘dozens’ wounded

The attack has come to Ukraine on all fronts, with bombs and missiles striking targets across the country, ground forces rolling in from Belarus, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, and paratroopers dropping on Kharkiv

The President condemned Vladimir Putin's 'unprovoked and unjustified attack' on Ukraine in a statement soon after war was declared 11.43pm US time. He said 'the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight'

The President condemned Vladimir Putin's 'unprovoked and unjustified attack' on Ukraine in a statement soon after war was declared 11.43pm US time. He said 'the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight'

The President condemned Vladimir Putin’s ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack’ on Ukraine in a statement soon after war was declared 11.43pm US time. He said ‘the prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight’

What further sanctions can Biden impose? 

President Joe Biden has so far slapped sanctions on just two Russian banks, a handful of individuals and a firm involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but is under pressure to go much further.

On Tuesday, Biden took a direct hit at Vladimir Putin’s inner circle by targeting five individuals with sanctions.

They include Alex Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Putin’s deputy chief of staff Sergey Keriyenko, and the CEO of Russian Promsvyazbank, the country’s largest military bank.

Biden said additionally that two Russian financial institutions, VTB and Russia’s military bank, which hold around $80 billion in assets, will also face sanctions.

He said Russia’s sovereign debt will be sanctioned so Russia ‘can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade its new debt on our markets, or European markets either.’ 

The US then struck again on Wednesday, with sanctions on the firm building the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate officers. 

The Biden administration had made clear it was holding tougher financial penalties in reserve in case of just such a Russian invasion.

But now that Russia has effectively declared war by invading Ukraine, all eyes are on Washington to see what measures it will take now.

Possible next steps include sanctioning other Russian banks like Sberbank and VTB, barring US financial institutions from processing Russian transactions, and export bans on US and foreign-made goods.

But following criticism of the ineffective sanctions packages delivered so far, it is hoped G7 leaders may work on a united set of punishments when they meet today. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that the UK, ‘in concert with our allies,’ would approve ‘a massive package of economic sanctions designed in time to hobble the Russian economy.’ 

The European Union has moved closer to a massive package of sanctions targeting both sectors of the Russian economy and individuals. It’s unclear if Putin himself will be targeted.

Another tough measure under consideration would effectively shut Russia out of much of the global financial system. This could even extend to SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).

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Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN, said the Biden administration had failed to deliver on a promise of swift and severe sanctions.

‘President Biden promised a “swift and severe” response. He did not deliver. Ukraine is a test of western resolve. It’s not just about Putin. The Chinese communists and Iranian jihadists are watching too. It’s a major leadership moment for Biden. So far, he’s failing.’

She added that under Biden, US weakness over sanctions was ‘teasing Russian aggression.’

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that Putin will win in Ukraine because Biden had failed to mount a successful NATO deterrence effort.

The longtime GOP foreign policy operative told MSNBC that while Putin had wanted a second Trump term, he was getting just as much leeway under Biden’s administration now.

‘I think Putin was undoubtedly waiting for a second Trump term, but he’s getting effectively almost what he would have expected then. This is going to be a victory for Russia,’ Bolton said.

The White House on Tuesday slapped a first tranche of ‘swift and severe costs’ on Russia and promised of harsher measures to come.

Biden said two Russian financial institutions, VTB and Russia’s military bank, will face sanctions. He also said Russia’s sovereign debt will be sanctioned so Russia ‘can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade its new debt on our markets, or European markets either.’ 

The administration also targeted five individuals from Putin’s inner circle, including Alex Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Putin’s deputy chief of staff Sergey Keriyenko, and the CEO of Russian Promsvyazbank, the country’s largest military bank. 

And on Wednesday the White House stepped up pressure by imposing sanctions on the firm building the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and its corporate officers, a move Biden had resisted for months. 

But Biden is now under pressure from fellow Democrats and Republicans in Congress to crack down even harder on Moscow.

Democrat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN that the administration should put in place ‘the most severe sanctions as soon as possible,’ including a permanent end to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Speaking before the outbreak of war yesterday he said: ‘We have to make sure that if Putin goes forward with this invasion more fully … that the costs to Putin and Russia are just crippling.’

Former President Donald Trump was scathing of Biden's response, telling Fox News in a wild interview that Biden was 'probably in bed right now' rather than monitoring developments

Former President Donald Trump was scathing of Biden's response, telling Fox News in a wild interview that Biden was 'probably in bed right now' rather than monitoring developments

Former President Donald Trump was scathing of Biden’s response, telling Fox News in a wild interview that Biden was ‘probably in bed right now’ rather than monitoring developments 

The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism for only sanctioning five Russian figures in Putin's inner circle and hitting only two Russian banks. Senator Ted Cruz describes the sanctions as 'appeasement that only increases the chances of military conflict'

The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism for only sanctioning five Russian figures in Putin's inner circle and hitting only two Russian banks. Senator Ted Cruz describes the sanctions as 'appeasement that only increases the chances of military conflict'

The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism for only sanctioning five Russian figures in Putin’s inner circle and hitting only two Russian banks. Senator Ted Cruz describes the sanctions as ‘appeasement that only increases the chances of military conflict’

Joe Biden’s full statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

‘The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.

President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.

Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.

I will be monitoring the situation from the White House this evening and will continue to get regular updates from my national security team.

Tomorrow, I will meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.

We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance.

Tonight, Jill and I are praying for the brave and proud people of Ukraine.’

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Republican Senator Rob Portman demanded tough sanctions, rigid export controls and moves to increase military support to Ukraine and other allies, including Poland, Romania and the Baltic countries, in a statement after the Russian attacks. 

Germany on Tuesday froze approvals for the pipeline, which has been built but was not yet in operation, amid concerns it could allow Moscow to weaponize energy supplies to Europe.

Possible next steps include sanctioning other Russian banks like Sberbank and VTB, barring US financial institutions from processing Russian transactions, and export bans on US and foreign-made goods.

Following the outbreak of war, former President Donald Trump slammed Biden’s administration in a wild interview on Fox News, suggesting this wouldn’t have happened under his administration and again making claims of a rigged election in 2020.

Trump, speaking to Fox’s Laura Ingraham as the Kremlin’s ‘special military operation’ began, claimed that the so-called ‘Russia hoax’ ruined his good relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi, arguing he kept the two apart.

‘This should have never happened. This would not have happened during my administration,’ he said. ‘In fact, some people are saying why didn’t this take place over the last four years? It didn’t for a very good reason and I’ll explain that to you someday, but it wouldn’t have taken place and it wouldn’t have taken place right now.’

Ingraham then asked Trump what he thought of President Biden’s approach, in which Ingraham said Biden was ‘monitoring the situation’ and then would talk to fellow G7 leaders Thursday.

‘I don’t think he’s monitoring, I think he is probably sleeping right now,’ Trump retorted. ‘This is a terrible thing that should never have happened. I really believe that it was Afghanistan, when he looked at that horrible, weak pullout.’

Trump added that he believes Putin sees this as ‘the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of [the Biden] administration.’ 

Trump on Tuesday praised Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of two breakaway regions in Ukraine as ‘genius.’ 

‘Putin declares a big portion of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,’ Trump told a conservative podcaster in an interview published Tuesday.

Chuhuiv military airfield in Kharkiv outskirts burns

Chuhuiv military airfield in Kharkiv outskirts burns

Chuhuiv military airfield in Kharkiv outskirts burns

Smoke rises over Chuhuiv military airfield in eastern Ukraine after a Russian airstrike aimed at taking out the air force

Smoke rises over Chuhuiv military airfield in eastern Ukraine after a Russian airstrike aimed at taking out the air force

Smoke rises over Chuhuiv military airfield in eastern Ukraine after a Russian airstrike aimed at taking out the air force

Ukrainian tanks are seen rolling into the port city of Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine, after Putin declared war

Ukrainian tanks are seen rolling into the port city of Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine, after Putin declared war

Ukrainian tanks are seen rolling into the port city of Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine, after Putin declared war 

Military vehicles are seen on a street on the outskirts of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine

Military vehicles are seen on a street on the outskirts of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine

Military vehicles are seen on a street on the outskirts of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy chairs an urgent meeting with the leadership of the government, representatives of the defence sector and the economic bloc, in Kiev

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy chairs an urgent meeting with the leadership of the government, representatives of the defence sector and the economic bloc, in Kiev

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy chairs an urgent meeting with the leadership of the government, representatives of the defence sector and the economic bloc, in Kiev

Vladimir Putin is pictured in the early hours of Thursday morning declaring war on Ukraine, in what he termed a 'special military operation'

Vladimir Putin is pictured in the early hours of Thursday morning declaring war on Ukraine, in what he termed a 'special military operation'

Vladimir Putin is pictured in the early hours of Thursday morning declaring war on Ukraine, in what he termed a ‘special military operation’

‘I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper… We could use that on our southern border.’ Trump also said Putin was ‘very savvy’ in his tactics.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier today broke off Kyiv’s diplomatic relations with Moscow in response to Russia’s invasion of its Western-backed neighbour.

It marked the first rupture in ties since Russia and Ukraine became independent countries after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

‘We broke off diplomatic relations with Russia,’ Zelensky said in a video message.

Ukraine and Russia maintained ties throughout a complex history of relations that included two pro-Western revolutions in Kyiv in 2004 and 2014 that the Kremlin strongly opposed.

Analysts said Kyiv was keen to keep diplomatic channels with Moscow open because it needed to provide consular and other assistance to nearly three million Ukrainians living in Russia.

Zelensky’s decision came hours after Putin launched an all-out offensive that included an air assault and ground invasions along Ukraine’s northern and southern frontiers.

Source: Daily Mail

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