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Biden’s Cabinet meeting expected to focus heavily on invasion of Ukraine, officials say

By Kaitlan Collins and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

President Joe Biden will convene his Cabinet Thursday afternoon for a meeting that is expected to focus much more heavily on foreign policy than usual, officials told CNN.

At 2 p.m. ET Thursday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with top aides in the Cabinet room as the Russian invasion of Ukraine drags on.

The President is expected to make brief remarks at the top of the Cabinet meeting on the latest developments in Ukraine, White House officials said. He last convened a Cabinet meeting in November, which was focused on infrastructure.

Biden has remained highly focused this week on the invasion as Ukraine’s cities have continued to be attacked by Russian forces, dedicating a large portion of Tuesday’s State of the Union address to the conflict.

The US and allies have issued a wide range of actions in recent weeks intended to punish Moscow for the invasion.

During his address to Congress, the President announced that the US would join other countries in banning Russia’s aircraft from US airspace and that the US and its allies had agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves. And after Biden told Russian oligarchs during the speech that the US was “coming for you,” an official told CNN the Treasury Department is preparing further sanctions on more oligarchs and could impose those in the coming days. The sanctions are still being finalized, the official said.

On Wednesday alone, the White House announced a slew of economic measures levied against Russia and allied Belarus.

The new actions include extending export control policies to Belarus and preventing diversion of tech and software to Russia through the country. In addition, the US and allies are identifying 22 Russian “defense-related entities,” including firms that provide technological and material support for Russia’s military, for new sanctions.

Previous rounds of measures have included sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, sanctions against Russia’s largest banks and Russia’s removal from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.

The crisis in Ukraine has spanned nearly every sector of US government, from the Pentagon to the Treasury and Commerce departments. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Europe and isn’t expected to attend Thursday’s meeting given he is slated to depart before the scheduled start time.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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CNN’s Donald Judd and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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