US President Biden Warns Putin of ‘Severe Costs’ of Ukraine Invasion

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WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would cause “widespread human suffering” and that the West committed itself to diplomacy to end the crisis but was “equally prepared for other scenarios,” the White said. Home Saturday. It offered no suggestion that the hour-long call reduced the threat of impending war in Europe.

Biden also said the United States and its allies would “react decisively and impose swift and heavy charges” if the Kremlin were to attack its neighbor, the White House said. Also Read – Breaking News LIVE: Amit Shah, Arvind Kejriwal, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are campaigning in Punjab today

The two presidents spoke a day after Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned US intelligence shows a Russian invasion could begin within days and before the Beijing Winter Olympics end on February 20. Also Read – Happy Kiss Day 2022: Best Wishes , SMS, WhatsApp Forwards, Facebook Status, GIF to send to your Valentine

Russia denies planning to invade, but has gathered more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border and has sent troops to exercises in neighboring Belarus, surrounding Ukraine on three sides. US officials say Russia’s firepower has reached the point where it could invade any time soon.

The talk came at a critical time for what has become the biggest security crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War. US officials believe they have only a few days left to prevent an invasion and massive bloodshed in Ukraine. And while the US and its NATO allies have no plans to send troops to Ukraine to fight Russia, an invasion and the resulting punitive sanctions could reverberate far beyond the former Soviet Republic, affecting energy supplies, global markets and the balance of power in Europe.

“President Biden was clear to President Putin that while the United States remains ready for diplomacy, in full coordination with our allies and partners, we are also prepared for other scenarios,” the White House statement said.

The call was “professional and substantive” but “did not fundamentally change the dynamics that have been unfolding for several weeks now,” said a senior government official who informed reporters after the call on the condition of anonymity.

The official added that it remains unclear whether Putin has made a final decision to proceed with military action.

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s chief foreign policy officer, said that while tensions had escalated for months, in recent days “the situation has simply been brought to the point of absurdity.”

He said Biden mentioned possible sanctions that could be imposed on Russia, but “this issue was not the focus of a fairly lengthy conversation with the Russian leader.”

Before speaking with Biden, Putin had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, who met him in Moscow earlier this week to try to resolve the crisis. A summary of the talk by the Kremlin suggested little progress had been made in easing tensions.
Putin complained in the appeal that the United States and NATO have not responded satisfactorily to Russian demands to ban Ukraine from joining the military alliance and that NATO is withdrawing troops from Eastern Europe.

As a sign that US officials are preparing for a worst-case scenario, the United States has announced plans to evacuate most of its personnel from the embassy in the Ukrainian capital. Britain joined other European countries in urging its citizens to leave Ukraine.

Canada has closed its embassy in Kiev and moved its diplomatic staff to a temporary office in Lviv, located in the western part of the country, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Saturday. Lviv is home to a Ukrainian military base that has served as the main hub for Canada’s 200 soldier training mission in the former Soviet country.

The timing of a possible Russian military action remained an important question.

According to a US official familiar with the findings, the US has gathered information that Russia sees as a target date on Wednesday. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity, declined to say how definitive the information was.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he told his Russian counterpart on Saturday that “further Russian aggression would be met with a resolute, massive and united transatlantic response.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tried to create calm when he observed military exercises on Saturday near Crimea, the peninsula Russia captured from Ukraine in 2014.

“We are not afraid, we are without panic, everything is under control,” he said.

The Chief Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov issued a more defiant joint statement.

“We are ready to face the enemy, and not with flowers, but with Stingers, Javelins and NLAWs” – anti-tank and aircraft weapons, they said. “Welcome to Hell!”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu also held telephone consultations on Saturday.

Further tensions between the US and Russia arose on Saturday when the Defense Department summoned the US embassy’s military attache after it said the navy had discovered a US submarine in Russian waters near the Kuril Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The submarine refused the order to leave, but departed after the navy used unspecified “appropriate means,” the ministry said.

Adding to the sense of crisis, the Pentagon ordered another 3,000 US troops to Poland to reassure the allies.

The US has urged all US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately, and Sullivan said those who remain should not expect the US military to rescue them in the event that air and rail transport is interrupted after a Russian invasion. .

The Biden administration has been warning for weeks that Russia could soon invade Ukraine, but US officials had previously said the Kremlin would likely wait until after the Winter Games end not to antagonize China.

Sullivan told reporters on Friday that US intelligence shows that Russia could invade during the Olympics. He said military action could begin with missiles and air strikes, followed by a ground offensive.

“Russia has all the troops it needs to carry out a major military action,” Sullivan said, adding that “Russia could choose at very short notice to launch a major military action against Ukraine.” He said the scope of such an invasion could range from a limited raid to an attack on Kiev, the capital.

Russia scoffed at the US urgency speech.

“The hysteria of the White House is more indicative than ever,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. “The Anglo-Saxons need a war. At any cost. Provocations, misinformation and threats are a favored method of solving their own problems.”

Zakharova said her country had “optimized” staffing levels at its own embassy in Kiev in response to concerns about possible military actions by the Ukrainian side.

In addition to the more than 100,000 ground troops Russia has gathered along Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders, according to US officials, the Russians have deployed missile, air, naval and special operations forces, as well as supplies to support a war. This week, Russia moved six amphibious assault ships to the Black Sea, increasing its capacity to land marines on the coast.

Biden has bolstered the US military presence in Europe as reassurance to allies on NATO’s eastern flank. The 3,000 extra soldiers ordered to Poland are in addition to the 1,700 on their way there. The US military is also moving 1,000 soldiers from Germany to Romania, which, like Poland, shares a border with Ukraine.

Russia demands that the West keep former Soviet countries out of NATO. It also wants NATO to stop deploying weapons near its border and withdraw alliance forces from Eastern Europe – demands flatly rejected by the West.

Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in bitter conflict since 2014, when the Ukrainian Kremlin-friendly leader was ousted from office by a popular uprising. Moscow responded by annexing the Crimean peninsula and then supporting a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine that killed more than 14,000.

A 2015 peace deal negotiated by France and Germany helped halt large-scale battles, but regular clashes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled.

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