Biden to present US response to possible invasion of Ukraine to Putin: NPR

In this June 16, 2021 file photo, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at “Villa la Grange” in Geneva, Switzerland.

Patrick Semansky / AP

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Patrick Semansky / AP

In this June 16, 2021 file photo, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at “Villa la Grange” in Geneva, Switzerland.

Patrick Semansky / AP

President Biden plans to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call scheduled for Tuesday what the United States is prepared to do in the event that Russia invades Ukraine, a senior administration official told reporters . This response could include economic sanctions coordinated with the allies, support for Ukraine and an enhanced presence to support NATO allies on the eastern flank.

“To be clear, we don’t know if President Putin has made a decision regarding further military escalation in Ukraine. But we do know that he is building the capacity to engage in such escalation if he decides to. do, “the official said. , noting that the build-up and campaign of disinformation is reminiscent of the “playbook” used in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

Biden will voice his concerns about the strengthening of the Russian military on the border with Ukraine “in a professional, candid and direct manner, where he will clearly explain without any rhetorical flourishes or waving fingers what the United States is. ready to do both with regard to deterrence and respect for diplomacy, ”the official told reporters.

“We believe that we have a way forward which would involve substantial economic countermeasures from the Europeans and the United States which would impose significant and serious economic damage on the Russian economy if they chose to continue,” said officials said, declining to give details. .

The official said the United States was preparing for the possibility of increased rotational deployments to NATO allies on the eastern flank, as was done in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the United States. foray into the Donbass region. “We are working on careful planning of what we would have to do in the event of such an escalation, and how we should ensure the safety of our NATO allies in this context,” the official said.

Biden will tell Putin that there will be “real costs” for any invasion, but will also present a diplomatic channel through the talks and the realization of the peace plan for eastern Ukraine known as the accord. from Minsk, the official said. “We will of course support discussions between NATO and Russia to deal with more important issues on both sides,” the official said.

When asked if US troops would be part of the response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the official said that “the United States is not seeking to find itself in a situation in which the objective of our countermeasures is the direct use of US military force, “as opposed to a combination of support for Ukrainian and NATO military forces, as well as economic sanctions.

Biden will meet with key European allies later Monday before the call to coordinate their message, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the official said. Biden will follow up with Zelenskyy in the coming days, the official said.

The official added that any call by Putin to ban Ukraine from entering NATO would be rejected, reaffirming Biden’s comments last week that the United States would not accept “anyone’s red line.”

Blinken discussed the military build-up in detail with NATO allies last week. The official said Russia had added battalion tactical groups around Ukraine in several locations.

Biden also plans to discuss strategic stability and arms control with Putin, IT issues and Iran’s nuclear program, the official said.

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