After weeks of warnings that an attack would bring about a "massive" economic response, Mr. Biden announced that the U.S. would sanction Sberbank — Russia's largest lender — and four other financial institutions that represent an estimated $1 trillion in assets, as well as a broad swath of Russian elites and their family members.
"The sanctions we imposed exceed anything that's ever been done," Mr. Biden said. "The sanctions we imposed have generated two-thirds of the world joining us. They are profound sanctions."
The U.S. will also implement export controls designed to cut Russia off from semiconductors and other advanced technology crucial to the military, biotechnology, and aerospace industries. Rules allow the U.S. to restrict exports to Russia from anywhere in the world using American technology, including software.
The U.S. also plans to impose new restrictions on Russia's largest state-owned enterprises, blocking them from raising money from U.S. and European investors, Mr. Biden said.
But Russia will not be barred from the SWIFT international banking network because Europe opposed that action, Mr. Biden said. But the sanctions imposed Thursday against major Russian banks should have a similar effect and limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros and pounds, he said.
The U.S. leader said sanctions were a long-term tool to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin and were never expected to prevent an attack. The penalties will "take time," adding "he's going to test the resolve of the West to see if we stand together and we will."
But in launching Russia's most sweeping military action in decades, Mr. Putin has defied global condemnation and new rounds of sanctions. Mr. Putin has threatened other countries that may interfere with his Ukraine offensive with historic consequences.
Mr. Putin's audacity is a troubling development for Mr. Biden and European allies. The stakes are high for Mr. Biden, who has promised to uphold the post-war geopolitical order that Russia's offensive now threatens.