In an address to the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the attendees had convened amid the most “dire circumstances” since “the end of the Cold War,” and warned that the United States and its allies would impose “swift” and “severe” penalties on Russia if its government goes ahead with an attack on Ukrainian territory.
“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,” said Harris, who reiterated the administration’s position that “our forces will not be deployed to fight inside Ukraine, but they will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
Harris was joined in Germany by a bipartisan congressional delegation, and met afterwards with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In recent days, the tensions over Ukraine have intensified, with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine reportedly ordering residents to evacuate the region, and Putin conducting tests of ballistic systems.
Harris’ comments came just a day after President Joe Biden, speaking from the White House, said he is “convinced” that Russian president Vladimir Putin has decided to order troops to invade Ukraine, but implored him to “de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”