Biden warns Putin against Ukraine invasion

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday vowed to make military action in Ukraine “very, very difficult” for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and said new initiatives from his administration are aimed at deterring Russian aggression.

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The president offered a measured warning to Putin in response to growing concern about Russian troops building up on Ukraine’s border and increasingly ceasefire rhetoric on the part of the Kremlin.

“What I’m doing is putting together what I think will be the most comprehensive and meaningful initiative for Mr. Putin to pursue,” Biden said. from reporters.


There are signs the White House and the Kremlin are close to arranging talks between Biden and Putin next week. Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Friday that a Putin-Biden call has been arranged in the coming days, adding that the date would be announced after Moscow and Washington finalize details. The Russians say a date has been agreed, but declined to say when.

Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have also tentatively agreed to hold a call next week, according to a person close to the Ukrainian president, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Were.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said administration officials are “looking into the prospect” of the Biden-Putin call. White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on the expected Zelensky call.

“This will certainly be an opportunity to discuss our serious concerns about war rhetoric, about the military build-up that we are seeing on the border with Ukraine,” Psaki said of the potential Biden-Putin call.

Biden did not elaborate on what actions he was weighing. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Foreign Minister Antony Blinken in Sweden on Thursday, said the US threatened new sanctions. He did not give details of possible sanctions, but suggested the effort would not be effective.

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“If new ‘bans from Hell’ come, we will respond,” Lavrov said. “We can’t fail to respond.”

Saki said the administration would coordinate with European allies if it went ahead with the sanctions. He said bitter memories of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Black Sea peninsula that had been under Ukraine’s control since 1954, are on the front of the mind as the White House contemplates the way forward.

“We know what President Putin has done in the past,” Saki said. “We see that he’s putting the ability to take action in short order.”

Deep differences were on display during the Blinken–Lavrov meeting, with Russian officials accusing the West of “playing with fire” by denying Russia any further expansion of NATO into former Soviet Union countries. Zelensky has prompted Ukraine to join the coalition, which delivers on the promise of membership but does not set a timeline.

This week Blinken said the US “has made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond strongly, including a number of high-impact economic measures that we have avoided using in the past.”

He did not elaborate on which sanctions are being weighed, but one potential could be to separate Russia from the SWIFT system of international payments. The EU parliament approved a non-binding resolution in April to separate Russia from SWIFT if its troops enter Ukraine.

Such a move would go a long way toward blocking Russian businesses from the global financial system. Western allies have reportedly considered such a move in 2014 and 2015, when Russia-led tensions over Ukraine escalated.

The then Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it would be tantamount to a “declaration of war”.

US-Russia relations have been rocky since Biden took office.

In addition to the Ukraine issue, the Biden administration has imposed sanctions against Russian targets and called on Putin over Kremlin interference in US elections, malicious cyber activity against American businesses, and the treatment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who was arrested last year and again. The poison was later given. Imprisoned.

Putin and Biden met face-to-face in Geneva in June, with the US president warning that if Russia crosses some red lines – including following major US infrastructure – his administration will respond and “its consequences will be disastrous. “

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