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President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States and its European allies have “deep concerns” about Russia’s build-up of troops near Ukraine, and warned the Russian leader that the United States would pursue “strong economic and other measures” in the event of a invasion. said the White House.

▶ Watch video: What can you expect when Biden and Putin hold video calls amid tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border

Washington – President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States and its European allies have “deep concerns” about Russia’s build-up of troops near Ukraine, and warned the Russian leader that the United States would pursue “strong economic and other measures” in the event of a invasion. said the White House.

The two leaders held a video call for two hours on Tuesday after U.S. intelligence officials warned of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine as early as January.

“President Biden expressed the deep concern of the United States and our European allies over Russia’s escalation of forces around Ukraine and made it clear that the United States and our allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,” the White House said. summary of the call said. “President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.”

The statement said the two leaders instructed their teams to “follow up and the United States will do so in close coordination with allies and partners.” Sir. Biden and Putin also discussed “US-Russia dialogue on strategic stability, a separate dialogue on ransomware, and joint work on regional issues such as Iran.”

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday afternoon that the United States and its allies will implement economic sanctions and provide material support to NATO allies in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine. Sullivan described the meeting as a “useful” meeting, filled with back and forth discussion. Sullivan declined to go into details about Russia’s side of the discussion.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered at the border with Ukraine, months after thousands of troops gathered at the border in the spring. But unlike last spring’s rearmament, which was seen as a demonstration of power, US intelligence officials warn that this could be a preparation for an actual incursion into the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

After the virtual meeting between the two leaders began, Russian state television showed footage of Putin greeting Mr Biden. “Good to see you again,” said Mr. Biden. “We did not get to see each other at G-20. I hope that the next time we meet, we will do it in person.”

The White House released a picture of Mr. Biden in the Situation Room, where he was joined by Sullivan, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and two other aides.

fgbhojwxmaezu2d.jpg President Biden will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin from the White House on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

The White House

In a call with journalists on Monday, a senior official did not go into detail about what Mr Biden planned to tell Putin that the US military will or will not do in the event of an intervention. The official said that in the event of a Russian military invasion, the United States would provide security to allies.

“I do not want to use a public press call to talk about the particularly sensitive challenges that President Biden will pose to President Putin, but I would say that the United States is not seeking to end up in a situation where the focus of our countermeasures is the direct use of US military force as opposed to a combination of support for the Ukrainian military, strong economic countermeasures and a significant increase in support and capacity for our NATO allies to ensure they remain safe, ”the official said.

Russia has denied any build-up and has accused Ukraine of its own troop build-up, according to BBC News.

Mr. Biden planned to speak with key European allies later Monday, and with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday, Sullivan said.

Sir. Biden said Friday that he has been “aware of Russia’s actions for a long time.” Putin said last week that he had new “red lines” – Washington and its allies must not place missiles in Ukraine capable of hitting Moscow. He is also fiercely opposed to Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership and has demanded guarantees that the transatlantic military alliance will not push its geopolitical borders further east, towards Russian soil. Mr. Biden said Friday that he does not “accept anyone’s red lines.”

A possible Russian invasion of Ukraine could involve as many as 175,000 troops, a US official confirmed last week to CBS News. The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 crew, along with armor, artillery and equipment, according to an administration official.

Approximately 70,000 Russian troops are currently deployed to Ukraine, although they lack the support units needed to launch an invasion. That support would come from reservists.

Blinken said on Friday that Putin’s actions at the border are “very, very worrying” not only for the United States but also for European leaders. Blinken said there would be “major economic consequences” if Putin staged an intervention in Ukraine.

“Well, we do not know President Putin’s intention,” Blinken said. “We do not know if he has made a decision to take renewed aggressive action against Ukraine.”

In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and assembled troops along the border. Blinken said last month that “our concern is that Russia may make the serious mistake of trying to resume what it did back in 2014, when it gathered forces along the border, crossed into sovereign Ukrainian territory and did so, claiming false that it was provoked. ”

Olivia Gazis and David Martin contributed to this report.

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