NATO’s promised economic sanctions are still being negotiated, but they are believed to be unprecedented in their scale and scope, targeting Russia’s elites and its defense and industrial sectors.
Biden also said Tuesday that he was willing to sanction Putin personally.
It’s unclear how much that would accomplish, however. Putin publicly claims his salary of roughly $140,000 as his only source of income, and his assets as an apartment and a few vehicles.
In reality, Putin lives in a palatial home larger than Buckingham Palace, and experts believe he is worth billions of dollars, and that he uses the global shadow banking system to hide his money.
For months, the West has watched as Putin has carried out an extraordinary build-up of Russian forces and equipment at Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Russian officials have repeatedly called on the U.S. to prevent an eastward expansion of NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance.
Russia has also demanded that the U.S. “shall not establish military bases” in the territories of any former Soviet states that are not already members of NATO, or “use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.”
Since 2002, Ukraine has sought entry into NATO, where the group’s Article 5 clause states that an attack on one member country is considered an attack on all of them.
On Tuesday, Biden said all the NATO members in the region, which include Poland, Hungary and Romania, should rest assured the alliance is ready to defend them.
“There’s no reason for anyone, any member of NATO to worry whether or not we, NATO, would come to their defense,” said Biden.
Ultimately, said the president, the question of what US and NATO troops do next will depend upon what Putin does.
Following the gift shop, Biden stopped for a Jeni’s ice cream on his way back to the White House.
— CNBC’S Amanda Macias contributed to this story.