- President Biden will warn Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the US is ready to take severe economic retaliation if Moscow attacks Ukraine.
- Ukraine has warned Washington and European allies that Russian troops have gathered on its eastern border.
- “We have seen this Russian playbook in 2014, when Russia last attacked Ukraine,” a senior administration official told reporters.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will warn Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the US is prepared to take severe economic retaliation if Moscow attacks Ukraine, a senior administration official told reporters on Monday.
The video call, which is scheduled for Tuesday, will take place against the backdrop of tensions emanating from the dangerous deployment of Russian troops and defense equipment along the country’s border with Ukraine.
“These movements are in line with the plan we are looking at 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 discussed closely with our European partners what we will collectively do in the event of a massive increase of Russian forces in Ukraine,” the official said. “We believe we have a way forward that will include substantial economic countermeasures by both Europe and the United States that would inflict significant and severe economic damage on the Russian economy, should they choose to proceed.”
The administration official declined to say whether the US would take direct military action against Russia if the invasion did occur.
In recent weeks, Ukraine has warned Washington and European allies that Russian troops have accumulated on its eastern border, a development that mimics Moscow’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. The annexation of Crimea caused an international outcry and Moscow imposed a number of sanctions. Soon after the invasion, war broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.
“To be clear, we do not know whether President Putin has made a decision about further military growth in Ukraine. But we do know that he is putting the capacity to engage in such an increase, if he does. Let’s decide,” said the senior Biden administration official.
“We have seen this Russian playbook before in 2014, when Russia last attacked Ukraine,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has rejected suggestions that Moscow was preparing an attack on Ukraine and defended its right to deploy troops to its territory.
Ukraine has previously pointed to the Russian invasion as a justification to accelerate its membership bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the world’s most powerful military alliance. Ukraine announced in 2002 that it wanted to join NATO. Moscow has called Ukraine’s ambition to join the coalition a “red line”.
Earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the state of US-Russian relations as “miserable” and reiterated Moscow’s opposition to NATO expansion.
Previewing the call at a press conference, Peskov said, “The tense situation around Ukraine and NATO will be discussed on our borders. And President Putin’s initiative on long-term guarantees of Russia’s security. All these topics will be discussed.” “
“Of course, bilateral relations will be discussed which are still in a pathetic state,” he said.
Last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Moscow to de-escalate tensions and reiterated that the coalition’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “remains unwavering.”
“Ukraine is a sovereign, independent nation. And every sovereign, independent nation has the right to choose its own path, including what type of security system it wants to be part of. So it is up to Ukraine and 30 allies to decide When is Ukraine ready to join the coalition? Stoltenberg during NATO meeting in Riga, Latvia,
,[Russia] There’s no veto, no right to interfere with that process,” Stoltenberg said.