This combination of images created on December 06, 2021 shows US President Joe Biden at a signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC on November 18, 2021 and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a United Russia Party convention in Moscow, on December 4, 2021.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden to warn Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the United States is prepared to impose tough economic countermeasures if Moscow carries out an attack on Ukraine, a senior administration official told reporters on Monday .
The video call, which is scheduled for Tuesday, will take place amid heightened tensions triggered in part by an alarming deployment of Russian troops and defense equipment along the country’s border with Ukraine.
“These moves are consistent with the planning we see underway for a military escalation in Ukraine,” said the official, who declined to be named to discuss details of the upcoming call between Biden and Putin.
“We have had intensive discussions with our European partners on what we would do collectively in the event of a major Russian military escalation in Ukraine,” the official said. “We believe that we have a way forward which would involve substantial economic countermeasures from Europe and the United States which would impose significant and serious economic damage on the Russian economy, should they choose to go forward.”
The administration official declined to say whether the United States would take direct military action against Russia in the event of an invasion.
In recent weeks, Ukraine has warned Washington and its European allies that Russian troops have gathered along its eastern border, a development that mimics Moscow‘s 2014 invasion of Crimea. Annexation of the peninsula the Black Sea sparked an international outcry and triggered a series of sanctions against Moscow. Shortly after the invasion, war broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.
An unclassified US intelligence document obtained by Reuters shows Russian military activity in the territory of Russia and Russia annexed Crimea near the border with Ukraine.
âTo be clear, we don’t know if President Putin has made a decision regarding further military escalation in Ukraine. But we do know that he is building the capacity to engage in such escalation if he decides to. do, “he added. said an official in the Biden administration.
âWe saw this Russian playbook before in 2014, when Russia last invaded Ukraine,â the official added.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin rejected suggestions that Moscow was preparing for an attack on Ukraine and defended its right to deploy troops on its own territory.
Ukraine has previously cited Russian aggression as a justification for accelerating its application for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the world’s most powerful military alliance. Ukraine announced in 2002 that it would seek to join NATO. Moscow called Ukraine’s ambition to join the alliance a “red line”.
Earlier Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the state of US-Russian relations “dismal” and reiterated Moscow’s opposition to NATO enlargement.
“The tense situation around Ukraine and the rapprochement of NATO on our borders will be discussed. And President Putin’s initiative on long-term guarantees of Russia’s security. All these subjects will be discussed,” he said. Peskov said at a press conference previewing the call.
“Of course, we will discuss bilateral relations which are still in a sorry state,” he added.
Last week NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Moscow to defuse tensions and reaffirmed that the alliance’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “remains steadfast”.
âUkraine is a sovereign and independent nation. And every sovereign and independent nation has the right to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wishes to be a part of. It is therefore up to Ukraine and to 30 allies decide when Ukraine is ready to join the alliance, âStoltenberg said at a NATO meeting in Riga, Latvia.
“[Russia] has no veto, no right to interfere in this process, âStoltenberg said.