Biden-Putin virtual meeting on Ukraine
US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting today with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the main topic is expected to be Ukraine. As previously reported, Biden will warn Putin that Russia will be subject to severe economic sanctions if it invades Ukraine.
US administration officials said that because of deep concerns over Russia’s plans to launch military action against Ukraine, President Biden will make it clear that the United States is ready to respond to the occupation with sanctions.
Senior US administration officials say Biden is realistic about what he can achieve directly with Putin.
But, according to Biden, any conversation is better than silence. He plans to detail the ways in which Russia will be sanctioned if it decides to invade. These sanctions include significant economic countermeasures aimed at causing significant and serious economic damage to the Russian economy.
The White House announced that the US president’s goal is to send a “clear message” about what the real cost to the Kremlin would be if it decides to invade. US intelligence estimates that Moscow has deployed about 170,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and is preparing for an offensive next year.
“We consulted with the allies and agreed to impose severe sanctions that would seriously damage the Russian economy. Call it a threat, a fact, a preparation, whatever you want,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, VOA reports.
Many US officials, meanwhile, believe that Russia is only using NATO talks as an excuse to attack Ukraine, knowing that Biden and other Western officials will not accept Putin’s demands.
On the other hand, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on the occasion of the virtual meeting that the presidents will discuss the work of the diplomatic missions of the two countries.
Peskov said that Putin and Biden will also discuss bilateral relations during today’s video conference.
“This includes, among other things, the work of our diplomatic missions.” “At the moment, it seems that everything is in a crisis situation,” said a Kremlin spokesman.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry issued a statement today, just hours before US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a video meeting, in which, among other things, the gathering of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine will be discussed.
The statement said that “the enemy has increased the number of sniper rifles who are ready to inflict casualties on members of the Joint Forces (Ukraine), destroy video surveillance elements and cause return fire.”
Reports of a gathering of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine in recent weeks have prompted the United States and some of its NATO allies to stress their support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.
Ukrainian officials said earlier that Russia could attack Ukraine next month.
Due to the movement of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, Western governments are concerned that Moscow is preparing an attack on the neighboring country. That is why the Chiefs of Staff of the 30 NATO countries met in a special meeting. According to informations from that military alliance, Russia has recently deployed extremely large contingents of ready-made combat troops on the border, as well as heavy weapons and drones.
The U.S. president spoke Monday with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Britain to discuss their “common concern” over the accumulation of Russian troops.
Biden, Emanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi and Boris Johnson voiced their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Russia to ease tensions, the White House said in a statement, adding that “Ukraine’s sovereignty must to be respected, while maintaining peace and security in Europe ”.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Monday that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the upcoming telephone conversation between Biden and Putin.
Price added that the United States remains committed to NATO’s open door policy and that the alliance should remain ready for candidates when they are ready. Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, is now seeking to join the European Union and NATO.