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In video call face-off, Biden warns Putin against Ukraine invasion

13 27 1
08.12.2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Face to face for over two hours, US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin squared off in a secure video call Tuesday as the US president put Moscow on notice that an invasion of Ukraine would bring sanctions and enormous harm to the Russian economy.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border, the highly anticipated call between the two leaders came amid growing worries by the US and Western allies about Russia’s threat to its neighbor.

Putin, for his part, came into the meeting seeking guarantees from Biden that the NATO military alliance will never expand to include Ukraine, which has long sought membership. The Americans and their NATO allies said that request was a non-starter.

There appeared to be no immediate breakthroughs to ease tensions on the Ukraine question, as the US emphasized a need for diplomacy and de-escalation, and issued stern threats to Russia on the consequences of an invasion.

Biden “told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said after the call.

He added that Biden said the US would also “provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians … and we would fortify our NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.”

That could include additional deployments of US troops to eastern European NATO allies, the adviser said.

A top US envoy, Victoria Nuland, said a Russian invasion of Ukraine also would jeopardize a controversial pipeline between Russia and Germany. She told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday that if Russia invaded, “our expectation is that the pipeline will be suspended.”

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov dismissed the sanctions threat during a conference call with reporters.

“While the US president talked about possible sanctions, our president emphasized what........

© The Times of Israel


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