The White House has hinted that President Joe Biden intends to warn Russian President Vladimir Putin that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would have significant costs for Moscow, ahead of a scheduled videoconference between the two leaders on Tuesday.
President intends “to send a clear message to Russia that there will be real and significant and direct costs if they choose to move forward with military escalation,” says unnamed senior official of the Biden administration. The official suggested that the crisis could effectively end only with bilateral diplomacy between Washington and Moscow, which represented the “most effective way forward”.
The two leaders’ video conference is expected to take place as Russian troops continue to gather on the country’s border with Ukraine, opposite the disputed Donbass region, where a pro-Russian rebel group has maintained its independence from the central government. from Kiev. According to William Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, US observers observed a “regular and unusual accumulation” of Russian soldiers and equipment along the border; it is now believed that the troops are numbered up to 175,000, a substantial increase from the previous week.
The build-up, the second in 2021 after a troop increase in the spring, raised fears of military conflict in the United States and Europe. A call was made on Monday between Biden and European leaders within NATO, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The press release issued by the White House condemned Russia’s use of “increasingly harsh rhetoric” and said tensions in eastern Ukraine should be eased through the implementation of the Minsk accords, a pair of negotiated settlements in 2014 and 2015 which all parties agreed would form the basis of a future Peace Agreement.
State Secretary Antony Blinken spoke separately to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of the Biden-Putin call on Monday, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price, who confirmed that Biden and Zelensky will hold another call as a result.
Price has indicated that Biden will reject Putin’s insistence that Ukraine not be allowed to join NATO, arguing that the military alliance will keep its door policy open and may accept Ukraine as a member at a future date. .
Trevor Filseth is a current affairs and foreign affairs writer for the National interest.