Putin Just Seized One-Fifth of Ukraine But Biden’s Still Betting Sanctions Can Stop Him

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Faced with mounting economic costs from sanctions on the Russian government and increasingly explicit nuclear threats from the Kremlin, the Biden administration still believes that a war of attrition is the only way to beat Vladimir Putin.

The newest tranche of sanctions punishing Russia for its illegal annexation of four Ukrainian provinces won’t turn the tide in the war, administration officials said on Friday, but are the safest way to continue backing the Ukrainian resistance without risking direct American involvement.

“The sanctions element of our strategy, the economic pressure that we are placing on Russia, and the denial of their ability to gather what they need to be able to regenerate their war machine, this has been a critical element to how we have prosecuted our strategy so far,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters in the White House briefing room. “The impacts of it will continue to be felt month on month as we go forward and put us in a stronger position, and Russia in a more disadvantaged position.”

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