publish date 2021-12-09 10:20:13
The Compass – US President Joe Biden said, on Wednesday, that he had warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, of unprecedented US sanctions if Russian forces massed on the Ukrainian border launched an attack.
After their two-hour video chat, Biden said Putin had received the “message.”
“I’ve made it clear that if he invades Ukraine, there will be dire consequences, dire consequences — economic consequences the likes of which he has never seen,” he told reporters at the White House.
But Biden added that sending US forces to confront Russia “is not up for discussion.”
Diplomatic pressure on Putin intensified with new German Chancellor Olaf Scholch warning of “consequences” for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a massive Russian project to deliver natural gas to Germany.
In response to a question about whether he is ready to use the gas pipeline as a pressure card on Moscow in the event that Russian forces invade Ukraine, Schulz said, “Our position is very clear, we want the sanctity of the borders to be respected by everyone, and for each party to understand that if this does not happen, there will be consequences”.
The White House had indicated after the meeting with Putin that stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could be part of the economic response, although this issue is controversial in Europe, which depends heavily on Russian laurel.
In turn, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russia would face “strategic and huge consequences” if it invaded its neighbor.
British Foreign Secretary Lise Truss also warned Wednesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would be a “strategic mistake”.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would be a strategic mistake,” said Truss at the Chatham House think tank on international affairs, stressing that Britain “stands with Ukraine in the face of this aggression.”
But the Russian president defended the build-up of up to 100,000 military personnel on Ukraine’s borders, describing it as a defensive measure amid fears that the former Soviet republic could join NATO.
“Russia pursues a peaceful foreign policy, but it has the right to defend its security,” Putin said at a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, considering that letting NATO approach its borders without responding would be “criminal inaction.”
Putin stressed Russia’s “concern” about “the possibility of Ukraine’s admission to NATO, because this matter will undoubtedly be followed by the deployment of military units, bases and weapons that poses a threat to us.”
Putin stressed that NATO’s eastward expansion was a “very sensitive” issue for Russia.
The Western-leaning Ukrainian government wants to join NATO, but it seems far from being verified.
Russian forces occupy Ukraine’s Crimea, and Russian-backed separatist forces control part of eastern Ukraine.
The US President said that in addition to economic measures, a new Russian attack on Ukraine would lead to a strengthening of the US military presence on the territory of existing NATO allies in Eastern Europe.
“We will probably have to reinforce our presence in the NATO countries, in particular to reassure those on the east bank,” he said. In addition, I made it clear that we will provide defense means for the Ukrainians as well.”
The United States works closely with the Ukrainian military and has supplied it with millions of dollars in weapons. However, Biden said that sending US forces to defend Ukraine without an agreement between the latter and NATO is unlikely.
Biden added that “the idea of the United States unilaterally using force to confront Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine is not up for discussion.”
“We have a moral and legal duty to our NATO allies under Article V. It is a sacred duty. And that duty does not extend to … Ukraine.”
“But that will depend on what the rest of NATO countries want to do as well,” he added, in a possible indication that the idea of intervention was not ruled out.
Regarding Russia’s claim that NATO expansion in former Soviet states poses a threat to it, Biden said Moscow and key NATO allies are working at a high level “on whether we can work on any compromise in terms of reducing tension along the Eastern Front.”
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said he was ready to negotiate with Putin, welcomed the conversation between the Russian and US presidents on Tuesday.
“I think it is positive that the president of the United States spoke with the Russian president,” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president is scheduled to speak with Joe Biden on Thursday.
Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk since 2014, in a conflict that erupted shortly after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse the Kremlin of supporting the separatists militarily, financially and politically, which Moscow denies, and the conflict has killed more than 13,000 people.
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Source : ألدستور