As Putin and Biden hold a summit, the stakes are getting bigger and bigger

The President of Ukraine said on Monday that the country’s army is ready to “stop” any invasion by Russian troops-a severe warning before the President. BidenOn Tuesday morning, as tensions and military build-ups between the two sides of the old Cold War in Europe increased, he held a high-stakes virtual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

US intelligence sources said that Moscow has assembled about 70,000 soldiers near its neighbors and may prepare for an invasion as soon as next month.Russian officials said it was the United States and NATO They have been provocative, eager to arm Ukraine and challenge the Russian army in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.Putin once said that he invited Ukraine to officially join NATO The alliance is a safety “red line” for him.

During the Biden-Putin video call on Tuesday, the unusually blunt communication was particularly prominent. Both aides said that the call may ease friction or trigger further escalation.

Analysts said that Russia’s military posture shows that Putin is using the threat of an invasion of Ukraine to force the United States and its Western European Union countries to make the following guarantees: NATO Will no longer expand eastward. At the same time, Republicans on Capitol Hill said. Biden Must show determination or risk RussiaCunning long-term leader.

“I strongly urge the president Biden Do not make concessions in response to the provocative military build-up of the Putin regime at the expense of our strategic partner Ukraine,” the Rep. Michael McCallRepublicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a statement on Monday. “Not only will this not ease tensions, it will also encourage Vladimir Putin and his fellow dictators by showing that the United States will surrender in a tense situation.”

The White House said, Biden It is planned to discuss a series of topics with Mr. Putin, including cybersecurity and multinational nuclear negotiations with Iran, but will mainly focus on Ukraine. The last time the two met was in Geneva in July, with the purpose of easing tensions and establishing what US officials call a “stable and predictable” bilateral relationship.

“President Biden It will emphasize US concerns about Russia’s military activities along the Ukrainian border and reiterate US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement late last week.

gentlemen. Biden Consultation with the leader on Monday NATO Allies including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy will coordinate the transmission of information and discuss potential economic sanctions if Mr. Putin is not deterred.

The Kremlin said that Putin will look for Putin. Biden Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that they will discuss “mutual” security guarantees at the first meeting.

“There is only mutual assurance,” Mr. Peskov said, according to the TASS news agency. “President Putin is a politician who insists on mutual respect and equal bilateral relations.”

Mr. Putin will talk to Mr. Biden From his He returned to Sochi after his visit to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks. Russian officials said that this will be the fifth direct contact between the leaders of the two countries, including the Geneva summit in July and three phone calls.

The U.S. and Europe coordinated the major sanctions against China last time Russia In response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula that has been under Ukrainian control since 1954. Russia Since occupying Crimea seven years ago, Russia has supported pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine, and this slow-burning conflict has killed more than 14,000 people.

The current build-up of Russian troops has raised concerns that Moscow is trying to sweep and absorb more Ukraine-the former Soviet republic has long been in a cold war-style contest between Moscow and Washington.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov warned that there may be a “mass escalation” between the Russian and Ukrainian forces in January. In comments last week by the Washington Atlantic Council think tank, Mr. Reznikov warned that U.S. officials should be aware that Moscow is prepared to “raise the stakes.”

However, Mr. Reznikov also emphasized that if Ukraine and the West prepare to “counter Russian aggression,” escalation can still be avoided.

He wrote: “We must convince Moscow that the cost of the new offensive is too high to be considered.” “The cost will be purely military and will take the form of negative political, economic and social impact.”

cost Russia

Ukrainian President Volodmir Zelensky also sought to highlight possible military costs on Monday Russia, Claiming that the Ukrainian army is a “strong, well-organized force, confident in its potential and capable of undermining any expansion plans of the enemy.”

“Ukrainian soldiers are continuing to perform their most important task-protecting the country’s freedom and sovereignty from Russian aggressors,” said Mr. Zelensky, who wore combat uniforms when he visited the army in eastern Ukraine.

Tuesday’s call was held after a face-to-face meeting between Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Stockholm last week. Both diplomats expressed their opinions strongly, with little concession. Signs.

The government has imposed sanctions on Russian targets and condemned Mr. Putin for the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. elections, cyberattacks on U.S. companies, and the treatment of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. U.S. officials called him He was poisoned by the Russian intelligence service last year and was sentenced to jail by the Putin government.

but Biden Critics believe that in the past year, the government has dangerously handed over its influence to the Kremlin in other ways.The most significant development occurred in May last year, when the White House suspended RussiaThe Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany increases Western Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies and bypasses the lucrative transit pipeline that is vital to the Ukrainian economy.

Mr. Putin has always asked the United States more firmly than ever to guarantee that Ukraine will not join the European Union. NATO Military alliance.

gentlemen. McCall It was stated on Monday that the credibility of the United States depends on Mr. Trump’s attitude. Biden Deal with the situation in Ukraine. “Especially after the disastrous withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the surrender of North Stream 2, the credibility of the United States…cannot withstand another blow of this nature,” said the Texas Republican.

“President Biden It must be clearly stated that if the Putin regime further invades Ukraine, it will face devastating economic and diplomatic consequences. ” McCall Said. “he Additional security assistance, including lethal weapons, must also be provided to Kiev without delay. “

But so far, the United States has only talked about economic and diplomatic sanctions, and there is a question whether Trump will accept sanctions. Biden If Putin invades, he has the appetite and support to fight against the Russian army in Ukraine. Liberal critics in Washington believe that Ukraine does not represent a vital national security interest for the United States. Some believe that the United States should withdraw instead of increasing military assistance to Kiev.

“Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the United States has provided Ukraine with US$2.5 billion in military assistance,” said Sascha Glaeser, research assistant on defense priorities.

“Continued security assistance has prolonged the conflict and exacerbated the U.S.–Russia Tensions,” Mr. Glazer wrote in an analysis report published by the think tank last month.

“Because of the risk of escalation, it may lead to a nuclear war,” he wrote. “The United States should seek easing Russia And support the establishment of a neutral and non-aligned Ukraine as a buffer between the two countries Russia And the west. “

A briefing from the National Security Council said in a conversation with reporters on the background before the summit that the Biden team is not seeking a military struggle.

The senior government official said: “What I want to say is that the United States does not seek to end with our countermeasures focusing on the direct use of US military power.”

• Jeff Mordock contributed to this article, which is based in part on the Wired Services report.

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