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US orders armed forces to Baltic states as 10,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine
23 February 2022, 00:17 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 07:23
President Joe Biden has ordered more US troops to Baltic NATO states, after saying the world has heard "the full extent of Vladimir Putin's twisted rewrite of history".
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Speaking at a White House briefing on the Ukraine crisis, said he had been in "constant contact" with European leaders on how to respond "in unison" to any threat from Russia.
"Nothing in Putin's remarks indicate any interest in pursuing real dialogue in European security in the year 2022. He directly attacked Ukraine's right to exist," Biden said.
However, the US President added that there was still a chance to "avert the worst-case scenario" which would "bring untold suffering to millions of people".
"The United States and our allies remain open to diplomacy, if it is serious.
"But when all is said and done, we're going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words, and whatever Russia does next we're ready to respond with unity, clarity and conviction."
He confirmed the US would also continue to provide "defensive assistance" to Ukraine by authorised the movement of US forces to other Baltic states.
He told the press briefing: "In response to Russia's admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I have authorised additional movements of US forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
"Let me be clear, these are totally defensive moves on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia.
"We want to send an unmistakable message though, that the United States together with our allies will defend every inch of Nato territory and abide by the commitments we made into Nato."
It cmes after Mr Putin asked the upper house of parliament for permission to use Russia's armed forces abroad.
Addressing the chamber, one of the country's deputy defence ministers said that it had been left with no choice.
The decision takes immediate effect, one of the lawmakers said as the motion was discussed.
Around 10,000 Russian troops have already entered Ukraine's separatists areas whilst around 150,000 troops currently line the border.
Boris Johnson imposed fresh sanctions on Russian banks and oligarchs after Putin ordered troops into breakaway Ukrainian regions.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister named five banks and three high-flying individuals would come under new economic measures in response to Russia's recognition and deployment of tanks to Donbas and Luhansk.
An invasion would then result in 44 million people in Ukraine becoming the "target" of a "full-scale war of aggression waged without a shred of justification for the absurd and even mystical reasons that Putin described last night", Mr Johnson said, referring to Mr Putin's speech on Monday night where he rambled about his view of Ukraine and Russia's history.
"In a single inflammatory speech, he denied that Ukraine had any tradition of genuine statehood, claimed that it posed a direct threat to the security of Russia and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions," Mr Johnson said.
The PM went on to say Russian tanks and armed personnel carriers have "since been spotted" in the rebel-held eastern parts of Ukraine and added: "The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.
"And by denying Ukraine's legitimacy as a state and presenting its very existence as a mortal threat to Russia, Putin is establishing the pretext for a full-scale offensive."
Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank will be subject to UK sanctions, he told MPs.
US President Joe Biden also announced a host of sanctions set to be imposed in retaliation, including on Russian oligarchs, Russian sovereign debt, VTB Bank and cancelling Nord Stream 2.
The sanctions were met with backlash today as opposition parties questioned whether the UK government had done enough to deter and reprimand Putin's actions.
Labour's Chris Bryant said: "We've been pitiful, we've been puny, we've vacillated, we've been spineless and quite often we've looked as if we're craven because we just want Russian money.
"Of course I support the statutory instrument, I'm glad we're doing this, but today's sanctions the ones that have been announced today which rely on this, are wholly inadequate."
Conservative former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith warned: "We must move, we must move hard, we must move now and we must make them squeal, if we do not do that then we will have failed."
Whilst SNP's foreign affairs spokesman Alyn Smith said: "It's weak tea, it's not nothing, but it's not much."
The Conservative chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee pressed the Government on why they did not go further on sanctions against Russia.
Tom Tugendhat stated: "I welcome the direction that we've taken, but I find myself, I'm afraid along with many others on all sides of this House, asking why not more? Why not further?"