Biden promises US to act decisively if Russia invades Ukraine – NBC Connecticut

President Joe Biden spoke to Ukraine’s leader on Sunday about the buildup of Russian troops near its border with Ukraine, promising that the United States and its allies would act “decisively” if Russia invaded the Ukraine more.

Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call came as allies of the United States and the West prepared for a series of diplomatic meetings in an attempt to defuse a crisis that Moscow says could sever ties with Washington .

“President Biden has made it clear that the United States and its allies and partners will react decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement afterwards. of the call.

Psaki added that Biden has underlined his commitment to the principle of “nothing about you without you”, the tenant that he will not negotiate a policy that has an impact on Europe without the contribution of his allies.

Biden has spoken of hitting Russia with economy-disrupting sanctions if it moves to Ukrainian territory, but said last month that US military action was not being considered.

The Kremlin demanded that any further NATO expansion exclude Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The Russians also demanded that the military alliance withdraw offensive weapons from countries in the region.

The White House has rejected Russia’s demands on NATO, deeming them unfounded. A key principle of the NATO alliance is that membership is open to any eligible country. And no foreigner has the right to veto membership. While it is unlikely that Ukraine will be invited to the alliance anytime soon, the United States and its allies will not rule it out.

Zelenskyy said in a Twitter post after Sunday’s call that “maintaining peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, desoligarchization have been discussed.”

“We appreciate the unwavering support,” Zelenskyy said.

The United States has made little progress in its efforts to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease tensions. Senior US and Russian officials are due to meet January 9-10 in Geneva to discuss the situation. These talks will be followed by meetings at the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Biden spoke with Putin for nearly an hour on Thursday. He told reporters the next day that he warned Putin that his economy would pay a “heavy price” if Russia, which has massed some 100,000 troops near the border, takes further action against Ukraine.

“I am not going to negotiate here in public, but we have made it clear that he cannot – I emphasize that he cannot – act on Ukraine,” Biden said on Friday.

Biden said he told Putin it was important for the Russians to take action ahead of these meetings to alleviate the crisis. Putin’s foreign adviser, describing the presidents’ conversation last week, said Biden’s pursuit of sanctions “could lead to a complete breakdown of relations between our countries and Russian-Western relations will be seriously damaged.”

U.S. intelligence findings indicate that Russia prepared for a potential invasion in early 2022. But White House officials say it’s not clear whether Putin has already made the decision to go. forward with military action.

Still, Biden said he was still hopeful for the talks ahead. White House officials say they will consult closely with Western allies

“I still expect that if you negotiate you will improve, but we’ll see,” he said on Friday. “We will see.”

Putin’s past military forays loom large as Biden assesses his next steps.

In 2014, Russian troops entered the Black Sea Peninsula in Crimea and captured the territory of Ukraine. Russia’s annexation of Crimea was one of President Barack Obama’s darkest moments on the international stage.

US-Russian relations were severely damaged towards the end of President George W. Bush’s administration after Russia invaded neighboring Georgia in 2008, after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his troops to ‘enter the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Representative Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that he feared Putin was planning to invade Ukraine and that “nothing but a level of sanctions other than the Russia has never seen it will deter him “.

“Russia needs to understand that we are united in this area,” Schiff told “Face the Nation” on CBS. “I also think that a powerful deterrent is to understand that if they invade, it will bring (NATO) closer to Russia, not push it further.


Associated Press writer Yuras Karmanau in Kiev contributed to this report.

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