US President Joe Biden has again warned his Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin, not to invade Ukraine. In this case, Biden, according to the White House, when speaking on the phone with Putin, said that the United States and its allies would “respond decisively.”
A senior US official in Washington said they would be willing to impose harsh economic sanctions on Moscow. In addition, NATO’s presence in its eastern member states will then be expanded. Ukraine can count on additional aid, including for its armed forces. However, the United States had hoped that the Kremlin would continue down the path of de-escalation.
Putin, in turn, warned Biden, according to the Kremlin, against imposing severe sanctions on Russia. This would be a “fatal mistake,” said Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, after the two countries’ heads of state spoke for about 50 minutes.
The Kremlin has vehemently denied the alleged plans to attack Ukraine. The deployment of Russian soldiers near the border with the former Soviet republic has raised similar concerns in recent weeks. For years, the Ukrainian leadership faced an armed uprising by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
Progress in January?
During their phone call, Biden and Putin also talked about negotiations between the two countries, scheduled for January 10, about security guarantees from the West that Moscow is demanding, including abandoning NATO’s eastward expansion. Ushakov stressed that “results” must be achieved in the meetings. “Remarkable progress in these conversations can only come in an environment of calm, not escalation,” Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. At the same time, both sides were optimistic that talks in January could help smooth relations.
wa/pgr (dpa, afp, rtr)
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