US warns Russia of ‘unprecedented’ sanctions over Ukraine

If Russia further invades Ukraine, US, allies will impose significant, unprecedented economic cost, says Vice President Harris.

US warns Russia of ‘unprecedented’ sanctions over Ukraine

The US still seeks a diplomatic solution with Russia, but will impose severe and swift sanctions if Moscow launches a military offensive against Ukraine, US Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday.

“If Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States together with our allies and partners will impose a significant and unprecedented economic cost,” she said at the Munich Security Conference, amid growing tensions in the region.

Harris said Russia’s major military buildup near Ukraine was a threat not only to this country but also to European security.

“There is a playbook of Russian aggression. And this playbook is too familiar to us all,” she asserted.

“Russia will plead ignorance and innocence. It will create a false pretext for invasion and it will amass troops and firepower in plain sight. We now receive reports of what appears to be provocations,” she said, referring to the escalation of tensions in eastern Ukraine in the last couple of days.

Harris underlined that the US, its European partners, and NATO allies are united, and prepared to impose severe and swift sanctions if Russia further violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We will impose far-reaching financial sanctions and export controls. We will target Russia's financial institutions and key industries and we will target those who are complicit and those who aid and abet this unprovoked invasion,” she warned.

“The imposition of these sweeping and coordinated measures will inflict great damage on those who must be held accountable. And we will not stop with economic measures. We will further reinforce our NATO allies on the eastern flank,” she added.

Western countries have accused Russia of amassing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any plan to invade Ukraine and accused Western countries of undermining Russia’s security through NATO’s expansion toward its borders.

It also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia would not join NATO.