Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pushing for “accelerated” NATO membership for his country. NATO’s Secretary General confirmed that any European democracy can join, but such a move seems unlikely since membership would essentially immediately invoke Article 5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stopped short of endorsing the bid.
The U.S. announced a wave of sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
- Treasury Department announced sanctions on 14 persons in Russia’s military-industrial complex, three Russian financial leaders (including the head of its Central Bank), immediate family members of senior Russian officials, and 278 members of Russia’s legislature. It also updated its FAQs with regards to a warning of sanctions on third-party actors that provide economic and political support to Russia.
- The State Department is imposing visa restrictions on 910 indviduals.
- The Department of Commerce added 57 entities to the Entity List.
Congress passed a continuing resolution that included an additional $12.3 billion in aid for Ukraine.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the BREAK PUTIN Act, which would, according to a description from the press release:
- Establish a price cap for Russian oil at 15% above marginal production costs;
- Impose secondary sanctions for financial institutions violating the price cap;
- Require all funds to purchase Russian crude be held in escrow at the U.S. Treasury;
- Permit Russian access to funds for certain non-sanctioned products;
- Establish strict requirements for Russia to repatriate all funds;
- Establish an interagency task force to combat sanctions evasion; and
- Require the President to take necessary steps to increase U.S. crude oil production and refining capacity.
President Joe Biden accused Russia publicly of a “deliberate act of sabotage” on the Nord Stream pipelines. The amount of gas that has leaked is estimated to be about three days’ supply for Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed annexation papers for four Ukrainian regions. Before signing the annexation papers, Putin gave a speech that, per the NYT, “even by Mr. Putin’s increasingly antagonistic standards…was extraordinary, a combination of bluster and menace that mixed conspiratorial riffs against the American-led ‘neocolonial system’ with an appeal to the world to see Russia as the leader of an uprising against American power. There was a concert after.
G7 leaders released a statement condemning the annexation, saying the countries would “never recognize these referenda.” President Joe Biden denounced the annexation as “phony.” Japan’s Prime Minister condemned the annexation. India, Brazil, China, and Gabon abstained from a UN Security resolution condemning the annexation.
Ukraine says 25 civilians were killed in a Russian strike on a humanitarian convoy in Zaporizhzhia.
The Pentagon is setting up a new command to train and equip the Ukrainian military, reflecting a longer-term commitment to Ukraine.