Crisis in Ukraine | Biden warns Putin that an invasion of Ukraine if diplomacy fails will have a “swift and severe” response

The presidents of the United States, Joe Biden, and of Russia, Vladimir Putin, have held a telephone conversation to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, at a time when the US has asked all its citizens to leave the country and has reduced his diplomatic presence in Kiev.

Biden has conveyed to Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, The United States, together with its allies, “will respond decisively and impose swift and severe sanctions”the White House has communicated.

An official of the US Administration has indicated that this contact between the two leaders has not produced “fundamental changes” in the positions of both countries.

The US president has said that a “new Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce a widespread human suffering and would diminish Russia’s position“, while reiterating that although the United States has the diplomatic channel open, it is equally prepared for other scenarios.

The conversation took place after the US warned of the “clear possibility” that Russia would attack Ukraine during the Winter Olympics, which are held until February 20 in Beijing. On December 30, Biden and Putin already made their differences on Ukraine clear.

New conversation between Macron and Putin

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, also had a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin on Saturday, in which he warned him that “sincere dialogue is not compatible with military escalation.”

For an hour and 40 minutes, both leaders exchanged impressions on the way to advance the Minsk peace accordssigned seven years ago by Kiev and the separatists in eastern Ukraine under the auspices of Russia, France and Germany, the Elysee indicated.

Elysee sources have indicated that Putin has reiterated to Macron that his intentions in Ukraine are not offensivedeclarations that Paris is taken with “prudence” since the military deployment on the Ukrainian border is “consistent” and is “ready for attack”.

However, the language used by Paris is not as clear-cut as that of Washington when it comes to Putin’s intentions. “We do not give Russia a blank check, we have to remain vigilant. There are no signs that they will go on the offensivebut we are vigilant to prevent the worst,” French sources said.

EU diplomatic missions continue to work in Ukraine

The call between the two leaders occurs on the same day that countries like Spain have asked their citizens to leave Ukraine. The United States on Friday gave Americans in Ukraine 48 hours to leave the country, a decision also adopted by the United Kingdom, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Spain.

Meanwhile, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has said that the EU’s diplomatic missions in Ukraine “are not closing” and that they continue to work to assist European citizens.

“The EU and its member states are coordinating their actions in view of the current threats in Ukraine. Our diplomatic missions are not closing. They are still in Kiev and continue to operate in support of EU citizens and in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities,” Borrell said in a statement.

The presence of officials and advice on travel to European citizens “are being adjusted as necessary taking into account the security circumstances,” he added.

In addition, Borrell has indicated that the EU reaffirms its “continuous support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and diplomatic efforts towards de-escalation”. “We remember that any other military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and a severe cost”, added the head of European diplomacy.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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