Russian troops push toward Kyiv

(NBC) Friday morning, President Biden met with members of NATO in a virtual summit to discuss the situation in Ukraine and possibly more sanctions against Russia.

Residents of Kyiv woke up to sounds of war and sights of devastation in other areas of Ukraine.

Russian troops are aiming to take over the capital city of Kyiv, cutting it off from the West.

Residents are sheltering in place as Russia’s military targets major cities.

Russia’s foreign minister signaled Moscow is ready to hold talks with the Kyiv government, but only if Ukraine’s military stands down.

Ukraine’s president accused Russia of targeting citizens, pleading with European allies to impose sanctions immediately.

President Biden imposed harsh new sanctions including cutting off Russia’s largest banks and companies from western financial markets and restricting exports.

“This is going to impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time,” Biden said.

Some critics say the president should have gone even further

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Ratchet the sanctions all the way up.”

There’s a bipartisan push for Russia to be barred from SWIFT, the secure system that connects banks in more than 200 countries.

The administration says, right now, European allies are not willing to take that step

“They are profound sanctions,” Biden said. “Let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working.”

The Russian attacks are igniting worldwide protests in Moscow, chanting crowds held antiwar signs.

In Washington D.C. there are calls for a stronger response from the administration.

U.S. military leaders described the current phase of Russia’s military operation “as the tip of the spear,” warning of more violence and casualties to come.

The U.S. is also deploying 7,000 more troops to Germany to support NATO allies.

The president again stressed that U.S forces will not be going directly into Ukraine.

 

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