US-Russia call fails to yield breakthrough over Ukraine tension.
According to the White House, President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that the US is prepared to take firm economic measures against Russia if it invades Ukraine, implying that these new sanctions would be more rigorous than the 2014 sanctions that failed to deter Russia from occupying Crimea.
National security advisor Jake Sullivan said during Tuesday afternoon following Biden’s call with Putin “I will look you in the eye and tell you, as President Biden did earlier with Putin, that things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now.”
Russia has developed supply lines, notably medical units, and fuel, over the last several months that could sustain a protracted war if Moscow opts to invade Ukraine, thus according to two sources familiar with the recent intelligence assessments. Although according to recent US intelligence assessments, Russia could launch a military operation against Ukraine within months after amassing up to 175,000 personnel along the border. According to Sullivan, the administration remains convinced that Putin has not yet decided whether to launch a major offensive against Ukraine.
Sullivan would not specify, but noted that the US is working with European allies “at a deeply specific level.”
Biden, he noted “was candid and forthright with President Putin, as he always is,” he later added, “there was a lot of give and take.” There was no finger-pointing, but the President was unequivocal about the US position on all of these matters.”
Along with the economic implications discussed during the call, Sullivan stated that Biden conveyed the US’s commitment to boost the region’s defensive abilities.
Biden reaffirmed America’s commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He made it clear to President Putin that if Russia invaded Ukraine again, the US and US European allies would respond with severe economic sanctions “According to Sullivan, In response to such an escalation, US would provide additional defensive armaments to the Ukrainians in addition to what they already offer, and they would strengthen all NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities.
Sullivan also mentioned de-escalation and diplomacy as an alternative.
According to him, the US and its European allies would engage in a broader dialogue about strategic matters, including its strategic issues about Russia and Russia’s strategic concerns about the US. They accomplished this during the Cold War’s heyday and then developed measures to assist in the minimization of instability and the enhancement of transparency.
NATO, the European Union, & the Indo-Pacific are key allies in the US-Russia call.
Biden and Putin had a nearly two-hour session earlier Tuesday via a secure video call.
The two presidents assigned their respective teams with the responsibility of following up on their discussions, with the White House noting that “the US will do so in close consultation with partner nations.”
Apart from Ukraine, the two presidents discussed “the US-Russia dialogue on strategic stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, and coordinated action on regional threats too like Iran,” according to the White House.
A White House photo from the session, featured Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sullivan, and senior director for Russia and Central Asia Eric Green seated in the Situation Room alongside Biden during the video call.
Last June, the two presidents convened in Geneva for a summit. Their most recent call, which was made public, took place In July.
Later Tuesday afternoon, Biden spoke with France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson – the very group of European allies with whom he met Monday night. Merkel will complete her term in office on Tuesday.
Biden briefed allies on the Putin call, and, according to a White House statement, the leaders reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need for Russia de-escalating tensions and engage in diplomacy.
Sullivan stated during Tuesday’s press briefing that the White House staff was briefing NATO, European Union, and important Indo-Pacific partners‘ embassies on the US-Russia phone call. On Thursday, Vice President Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Biden is also slated to speak with the leaders of both houses of Congress to address how the administration and Congress can work closely to advance American interests and values and to stand by its friends and allies.
According to the Russian readout of the Biden-Putin call, Ukraine was the predominant topic of discussion, and Biden emphasized the allegedly ‘threatening’ nature of Russian troop movements near Ukrainian borders and outlined sanctions measures that the US and its allies would be ready to adopt in the event of further escalation of the situation
In response, Vladimir Putin emphasized that blame should not be passed to Russia, as NATO is undertaking reckless steps to seize Ukrainian territory and expand its military capacity along the borders. As a result, Russia is keen to get trustworthy, legally binding guarantees that exclude NATO’s eastward expansion and the deployment of offensive strike weapons systems in Russia’s neighboring states.”
Yury Ushakov, a Putin confidant, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday night that although Americans are conflicted about Russian forces hundreds of kilometers away, Moscow is very keen about its security, Russia’s security in general.
When pressed if Putin assured Biden that he would not deploy his forces in Ukraine, Ushakov ruled out an invasion.
Steps under consideration
US officials have been considering whether to impose broad sanctions on Russia to stop Putin from waging an invasion of Ukraine in recent days. They include further actions against members of Putin’s inner clique and Russian energy companies, as well as one prospective “nuclear option” of Russia being disconnected from the SWIFT international payment system used by banks worldwide.
Officials stated that the ultimate decision on whether and when to apply the new sanctions has not been made, and that the Biden administration is now in contact with European partners – many of whom have closer economic ties with Russia – to coordinate action.
Coupled with economic sanctions, the administration is considering evacuation possibilities for US citizens from Ukraine if Russia invades the country and causes a serious security scenario. According to the sources, the Pentagon is leading the contingency planning, which comes as the administration briefs Congress on the US preparations. Nuland briefed senators on Monday night in a “gloomy” briefing. Nuland reviewed the administration’s tough sanctions package in response to a potential Russian strike but conceded that the US’ options to stop an invasion are pretty limited.
On Tuesday, Nuland stated that the US anticipates that the contentious Nord Stream 2 project will be “suspended” if Russia takes action against Ukraine.
However, the White House stated that while talks with Germany on the pipeline are ongoing in the context of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, taking action may not always be the most effective deterrence against Russian aggression.
She warned that in the event of more aggressions, they will escalate and broaden existing sanctions.
Additionally, she stated that the EU was prepared to implement additional restrictive measures in collaboration with our partners.
According to her, extremism and autocracy on the rise can potentially pose a security threat to governments. Thus they must also address Russia’s military movements and massive buildup along Ukraine’s eastern border in that context.