Biden offers carrots, threatens sticks with Russia over Ukraine

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The Biden administration is treating Russia with a combination of carrots and sticks as it discusses with Moscow the dangers of invading Ukraine.

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Senior US officials say the administration is prepared to work with Russia to reduce the potential deployment of offensive missiles to Ukraine and to limit US and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe if it is willing to withdraw from Ukraine.

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But they also say that Russia will be hit hard by economic sanctions if it intervenes in Ukraine. In addition to direct sanctions on Russian entities, those penalties could include significant sanctions on products exported from the US to Russia and potentially foreign-made products subject to US jurisdiction.

Officials said Russia could be added to the most restrictive group of countries for export control purposes, along with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

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The administration revealed some details of its approach on Saturday as senior US and Russian officials prepare to meet in Switzerland on Monday.

Officials said the US is prepared to discuss some limited aspects of its European security stance in those talks. But he stressed that any agreement would be contingent on Russia addressing threats to Ukraine and that no decision would be taken without the consent of Ukraine or NATO.

Officials also said there was no chance the US would reduce its military presence or arsenal in Eastern Europe as demanded by Russia.

While the comments, made to reporters on the condition of anonymity in a telephone conference call conducted by the White House, were the first to suggest a willingness to compromise on issues tangential to Ukraine, they were accompanied by threats to Russian inaction.

Another official said, “In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, “we – in coordination with our allies and partners – will immediately impose serious and heavy costs on Russia’s economy, including its financial system and sectors critical to the Kremlin.” “

In addition to sanctions on energy and consumer goods, the US and its allies are considering banning exports to Russia of advanced electronic components, software and related technology using American equipment.

This would mean that Russia’s ability to acquire integrated circuits and integrated circuit products would be severely restricted, given the global dominance of US software, technology and equipment in the region. It can affect aircraft avionics, machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, tablets and TVs.

Such sanctions could also target important Russian industry, including its defense and civil aviation sectors, which would stifle Russia’s high-tech ambitions, whether in artificial intelligence or quantum computing.

US officials have cautioned Russia not to issue an ultimatum, while at the same time called for an end to the threat to Ukraine. But he has also categorically rejected Russian demands that NATO not expand further east and that the US withdraw troops and weapons from Eastern Europe.

Despite that stance, the US and NATO have indicated a willingness to compromise on related issues.

“We think we can at least explore the possibility of progress with the Russians,” an official said on Saturday ahead of Monday’s strategic and security talks between the US and Russia in Geneva. He added, however, that “there will be no firm commitment in these talks.”

Monday’s meeting will be followed by discussions between Russia and NATO members on Wednesday and with a wider European audience on Thursday.


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