THIS is a dangerous moment for Europe and for freedom-loving people around the world. By launching his brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has also committed an assault on the principles that uphold global peace and democracy. But the people of Ukraine are resilient. They’ve had a democracy for decades, and their bravery is inspiring the world.
This will not end well for Vladimir Putin. As a result of unprecedented global sanctions coordination, we have removed selected Russian banks from the Swift messaging system and imposed restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank. President Biden announced sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls. Sanctions have been imposed on the architects of this war, including Putin himself.
In response to Putin’s war of choice, we will limit Russia’s ability to do business. We will stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military. We will impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy. And we are prepared to do more.
This was an attack that Vladimir Putin has planned for a long time. He rejected every good-faith effort by the United States and our Allies and partners to address his fabricated security concerns and to avoid needless conflict and human suffering.
Putin executed his playbook exactly as we had warned he would do. We saw Russia’s proxies increase their shelling in the Donbas. We saw the Russian Government launch cyber-operations against Ukraine. We saw staged political theatre in Moscow and heard outlandish and baseless claims made about Ukraine.
And then, at almost the very same moment the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty, Putin launched his invasion. Missiles began to rain down. Then came air raids, tanks, and battalions of troops, all riding a wave of disinformation and lies.
We have been transparent with the world. We declassified our intelligence about Russia’s plans so there could be no confusion and no cover-up. Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now his people will bear the consequences of his decision.
Putin’s goal of dividing the West has failed. Our exceptional partnership with the United Kingdom is stronger than ever. This includes our friends in Scotland, where we have seen an outpouring of support for Ukraine. In the face of one of the most significant challenges to European security and democratic ideals since the Second World War, the United States and our Allies and partners have joined together.
Putin has unleashed great suffering on the Ukrainian people. The world is watching this conflict closely, and if Russian forces commit atrocities, we will explore all international mechanisms that could be used to bring those responsible to account.
Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will cost Russia profoundly. The Russian people deserve better from their government than the immense cost to their future that this invasion has precipitated.
Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression. In the contest between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake: freedom will prevail.
Philip T Reeker is United States Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, to the UK