- Following a meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, the US says it is preparing “strong economic and other measures” if Russia invades Ukraine.
- Russia has stated that it will not launch an attack.
President Biden expressed concern about Russian troop buildups near Ukraine’s border in a video call and called for a de-escalation of tensions.
President Putin accused Ukraine of provocation and demanded guarantees against Nato expansion eastward and the deployment of weapons close to Russia.
Over 90,000 Russian troops are thought to be stationed near Ukraine’s borders. The movement has strained Russia’s already strained relations with the United States. Following the call on Tuesday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration was preparing specific robust responses in the coming weeks if they were required.
Economic sanctions were imposed and additional troop deployments to Nato allies in the region, and defense equipment for Ukraine.
Mr. Sullivan refused to comment on the economic measures. However, he stated that Nord Stream 2, a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany still under construction, provides “leverage” for the US and its allies.
“If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flowing through that pipeline, he might not want to risk invading Ukraine,” he told journalists. According to previous reports, US officials reached an agreement with Germany to shut down the pipeline in an invasion.
Meanwhile, according to a Kremlin statement, President Putin has stated that Russia should not be held responsible for the tensions because Nato is making “dangerous attempts to take over Ukrainian territory and increasing its military potential” on Russia’s borders.
“As a result, Russia is keen to secure legally binding guarantees that rule out Nato’s eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive weapons systems in countries bordering Russia,” the statement continued in Russian.
President Biden made no promises to limit Nato expansion, according to the White House. Troops congregate near Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, parts of which are controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Over 14,000 people have died in the seven years since Russian-backed forces seized large areas of Ukraine’s east.
Source: BBC News