Biden Warns Putin of Economic Sanctions and Other Measures in Event of Ukraine Military Escalation

Biden Warns Putin of Economic Sanctions and Other Measures in Event of Ukraine Military Escalation

© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev / Go to the photo bank

Biden Warns Putin of Economic Sanctions and Other Measures in Event of Ukraine Military Escalation

During a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said Washington supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and called for de-escalation.

The Tuesday call between Biden and Putin lasted two hours and one minute and covered a range of topics, but focused primarily on Russian troops deployed near the country’s western borders, which Western media is widely reporting as a sign of an imminent invasion of Ukraine.

“President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the US and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,” a readout of the call released by the White House said.

“President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy. The two presidents tasked their teams to follow up, and the US will do so in close coordination with allies and partners,” the statement added.

The White House also noted Biden and Putin discussed several issues on which the US and Russia could work together, including the dialogue on Strategic Stability, combating ransomware, and relations with Iran.

Biden’s threat of economic retribution comes after reports that US sanctions could include a ban on buying Russian sovereign debt on the secondary market, sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany that’s almost finished being built, and even excluding Russia from the SWIFT money transfer system based in Brussels, Belgium.

Separately on Tuesday, the US House of Representatives’ rules committee released a compromise text for the 2022 Pentagon budget, which notably did not include sanctions on Nord Stream 2. However, a congressional aide told Reuters they have an understanding with Berlin to shut the underwater gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.

Similar threats followed Russian military drills held in the region in April, which were also claimed to be the prelude to an invasion of Ukraine by Kiev and the Western press. However, the contrivance helped build Kiev’s case for being allowed to join the NATO alliance, which Brussels said would be fast-tracked.

Citing anonymous intelligence sources, Western media have built a story in recent weeks that some 175,000 Russian troops have massed near the Ukrainian border and are preparing for an invasion of the country as soon as January. The Kremlin has denied that an invasion is being prepared and called the reports a “fake news campaign.”

The US has dramatically increased military deployments by its troops and NATO forces to Eastern Europe in recent years. NATO has postured as confronting “Russian aggression” in Europe since the events of 2014, when a US-backed coup in Kiev brought a far-right junta to power with a political program for persecuting non-Ukrainian citizens of the country, including the 29.6% of the population for whom Russian is the primary language. After predominantly Russian-speaking Crimea declared independence in March 2014 and then voted in a referendum to rejoin the Russian Federation, Kiev denounced it as an illegal annexation and the West followed suit.

Similar claims have been made about the Russian-speaking Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, which has fought a seven-year-long war with Kiev to defend its autonomy. Kiev and NATO have claimed the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic in the Donbas are Russian proxies. Moscow has denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and has long supported the Minsk Protocol for peace in Ukraine alongside France, Germany, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).