US ambassador to UK: America and our allies will hold Vladimir Putin accountable

This is a dangerous moment for Europe and for freedom-loving people around the world. 

By Philip T. Reeker
Friday, 4th March 2022, 4:15 pm
Updated Friday, 4th March 2022, 4:29 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting yesterday. This was an attack that he had planned for a long time
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting yesterday. This was an attack that he had planned for a long time

By launching his brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has also committed an assault on the principles that uphold global peace and democracy.  But the people of Ukraine are resilient.

They’ve had a democracy for decades, and their bravery is inspiring the world. 

The United States, together with our Allies and partners across the globe, will continue to support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country. 

Philip T. Reeker is United States Chargé d’Affaires in the UK and interim Ambassador

By choosing to pay for a war instead of investing in the needs of Russians, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure for the Kremlin and ravage the future of the Russian people. 

When the history of this era is written, it will show that Putin’s choice to launch an unprovoked, unjust, and premeditated attack left the West more unified and Russia exponentially weaker.

This will not end well for Vladimir Putin. 

Together, the United States and our Allies and partners are taking action to hold Russia accountable. 

As a result of unprecedented global sanctions coordination, we have removed selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system and imposed restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank. 

President Biden announced sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls that will damage Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology. 

After Putin began his invasion, the ruble hit its weakest point in history, and the Russian stock market plunged.  Sanctions have been imposed on the architects of this war, including Putin himself. 

By moving in close coordination with a powerful coalition of Allies and partners representing more than half of the global economy, we have magnified the impact of our actions to impose maximum costs on Putin and his regime. 

In response to Putin’s war of choice, we will limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars and pounds.  We will stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military.  We will impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy.  And we are prepared to do more. 

In addition to economic penalties, President Biden authorised an additional $350 million (£262 million) of security assistance to immediately help Ukraine defend itself, bringing America’s total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion (£749 million). We also stand ready to defend our Nato Allies. 

The United States has also coordinated with major oil-producing and -consuming countries to underscore our common interest in securing global energy supplies. We are working with energy companies to surge their capacity to supply energy to the market, particularly as prices increase.

This was an attack that Vladimir Putin has planned for a long time.  He methodically moved more than 150,000 troops and military equipment to Ukraine’s border.  He moved blood supplies into position and built field hospitals, demonstrating his intentions all along. 

He rejected every good-faith effort by the United States and our Allies and partners to address his fabricated security concerns and to avoid needless conflict and human suffering by engaging in diplomacy and dialogue.

Putin executed his playbook exactly as we had warned he would do.  We saw Russia’s proxies increase their shelling in the Donbas.  We saw the Russian government launch cyber-operations against Ukraine.  We saw staged political theatre in Moscow and heard outlandish and baseless claims made about Ukraine in an attempt to justify Russia’s aggression. 

Russia continues to justify its military aggression by falsely claiming the need to stop “genocide” in Ukraine – despite there being no evidence that genocide was occurring there.  We saw Russia use these tactics before when they invaded Ukraine in 2014 and Georgia in 2008.

 And then, at almost the very same moment the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and forestall disaster, Putin launched his invasion in violation of international law.  Missiles began to rain down, striking historic cities across Ukraine.  Then came air raids, columns of tanks, and battalions of troops, all riding a renewed wave of disinformation and outright lies.

 We have been transparent with the world.  We declassified our intelligence about Russia’s plans so there could be no confusion and no cover up.  Putin is the aggressor.  Putin chose this war.  And now his people will bear the consequences of his decision to invest in war rather than in them.

 Putin’s goal of dividing the West has failed.  Our exceptional partnership with the United Kingdom, born of common values and renewed through daily cooperation across a range of issues, is stronger than ever. This includes our friends in Northern Ireland, where we have seen an outpouring of support for Ukraine. I am reminded every day of the tremendous relationship we have with the UK in terms of intelligence sharing and our military cooperation as the closest allies.

The United States and the United Kingdom are in lockstep — in coordination with other allies and partners — to hold Russia accountable. In the face one of the most significant challenges to European security and democratic ideals since World War II, the United States and our Allies and partners have joined together in solidarity.

Putin has unleashed great suffering on the Ukrainian people.  But they have repeatedly shown they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards. The world is watching this conflict closely, and if Russian forces commit atrocities, we will explore all international mechanisms that could be used to bring those responsible — whether members of the military or their civilian leadership — to account.

Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will cost Russia profoundly, both economically and strategically. The Russian people deserve better from their government than the immense cost to their future that this invasion has precipitated. 

Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression. In the contest between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake:  Freedom will prevail.

Philip T. Reeker is United States Chargé d’Affaires in the UK and interim Ambassador

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