Biden says he’s making plan for Russia-Ukraine crisis

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he was developing comprehensive initiatives to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine and that he would not accept Moscow’s “red lines”, so as fears were mounting that latent conflict could erupt into war.

A videoconference between the two leaders is scheduled in a few days.

More than 94,000 Russian soldiers are massed https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/large-scale-russian-offensive-possible-january-ukraine-says-2021-12-03 near the borders of Ukraine Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, citing intelligence reports suggesting Moscow may be planning a full-scale military offensive by the end of January.

Moscow, in turn, accused Ukraine and the United States of destabilizing behavior and suggested that Kiev could prepare to launch its own offensive in eastern Ukraine, which Ukrainian authorities deny.

“What I’m doing is putting in place what I think is the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to move forward and do what people fear he will do, “Biden said, without going into detail.

As he left for a weekend at Camp David later on Friday, Biden told reporters: “We have known about Russia’s actions for a long time and I expect we will have a long discussion with Putin. . “

“I don’t accept red lines from anyone,” he said of Russia’s demands.

US and Ukrainian officials warned again this week that severe economic sanctions are being considered against Russia.

“Since the beginning of this administration, we have demonstrated that the United States and our allies are ready to use a number of tools to combat Russia’s nefarious actions,” said a senior American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, questioned about the Biden plan. expands. “We will not hesitate to use these and other tools in the future.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing that security aid for Ukraine was under consideration.

BIDEN-POUTINE CALL

Ukrainian tensions have served as the backdrop to the first appeal for months between the US president and his Russian counterpart as early as next week. Officials negotiated the terms of the appeal after Putin and Biden’s last conversation in July.

The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia and the United States have a tentative date and time for the video summit in the coming days, but that Moscow is waiting for Washington to finalize it. The White House only said it was “engaged” in talks for a possible appeal.

Biden imposed sanctions on Russia in April https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/us-imposes-wide-array-sanctions-russia-malign-actions-2021-04-15 and left open the possibility of more. But Washington is hoping that continued direct engagement will lower the temperature at a time when relations are at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union.

“We want open lines of communication with the Russians,” said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Especially in times of tension, it is important that we have these channels of dialogue.”

A glimpse of what a Biden-Putin call might look like was offered by a meeting between lower-level officials on Thursday.

In Stockholm on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/blinken-urges-russias-lavrov-take-diplomatic-exit-ukraine-crisis-2021- 12-02 Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said there will be “high costs” if Moscow escalates the conflict, a message Biden seems ready to repeat.

Blinken told the Reuters Next conference on Friday that Biden would inform Putin of the country’s “determination, not as a threat, but simply as a fact, to stand resolutely against any reckless or aggressive action Russia may pursue and also to defend the territory the integrity, sovereignty, independence of Ukraine. “

Russian officials, meanwhile, have said Putin will advocate for legally binding security guarantees from the West that NATO will not accept Ukraine as a member of the military alliance or not. ‘would not deploy missile systems there to target Russia.

As in their previous talks, including a face-to-face meeting in June in Geneva, other issues that may arise include cybersecurity, arms issues, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and Syria. .

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Steve Holland, Humeyra Pamuk, Alessandra Galloni and Simon Lewis; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall)

Christi C. Elwood