May 17, 2022

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Biden says it's 'obvious' that Russia is targeting civilians, but it's 'too early to say' whether it will commit war crimes

Biden says it’s ‘obvious’ that Russia is targeting civilians, but it’s ‘too early to say’ whether it will commit war crimes

US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to ABC’s Good Morning America on March 2. (ABC)

US Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday that “everything is on the table” as the United States assesses economic sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine and continues to stress that the United States will not send troops to fight Russian forces in Ukraine.

What we will continue to do is stand firm with our allies in reassessing what we are doing with sanctions. Everything’s on the table for consideration, frankly,” Harris told NBC’s “TODAY Show.”

And what we won’t do and we must also say is, as the president has consistently said, we’re not going to put American forces in Ukraine to fight the Russians on the ground or in the air. But we are resolute in our willingness to defend our NATO alliance and our allies, in every inch of NATO territory, Harris continued. And we will continue to do so.”

Harris told ABC’s Good Morning America that the United States is closely monitoring Russia’s actions and assessing whether there has been deliberate targeting of civilians and a violation of international law.

We are very concerned and are watching this. We are fully aware that if there is any deliberate targeting of civilians we are looking into the fact that there may be a violation, it may be a violation of international law. So this is an issue we should all be aware of. It’s a terrible and a violation of all the standards and principles that we, as NATO nations, take very seriously about protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of any nation,” Harris told ABC.

Harris said the United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as well as security assistance to the people of Ukraine.

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Harris told NBC that Russia is already seeing the effects of the retaliatory economic measures the United States has imposed on the nation.

“The ruble is in free fall. What we have seen is that the Russian stock market is closed. What we have seen is that Russia has received a fundamentally junk credit rating. So we know it is having an effect.”

“What history will show is that Vladimir Putin essentially ended up strengthening NATO and weakening Russia,” the vice president said.

On Tuesday, Harris said she spoke with the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Romania about how the United States will continue to support its allies.

She also praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he “showed extraordinary courage” and “was an inspiration to all of us”.