President Joe Biden has issued a warning to President Vladimir Putin that the United States will respond decisively if Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.
Despite previous warnings from Biden and European leaders that there would be severe consequences if Putin escalates the situation in Ukraine, the words have seemingly gone unheeded by the Russian leader. A heavy military presence of 100,000 Russian troops remains assembled at the Ukrainian border, with US intelligence suggesting that Russia could initiate a military offensive sometime in early 2022.
Biden has repeatedly stressed that there will be a heavy price to pay if Russia continues its aggressive posturing. He has even threatened Putin with serious economic sanctions unless he withdraws his forces. Putin has responded with a warning that a new round of sanctions would be a colossal mistake and might lead to a complete and unfixable breakdown between the two superpowers.
In turn, Russia has demanded that both the US and NATO make a binding promise that the latter will forgo any plans for expansion to the east and deny Ukraine the opportunity to join the military alliance. However, Biden is adamant that it will not make any concessions that could have detrimental consequences for the Ukraine or NATO.
CNN reports Biden said after a New Year’s Eve lunch in Wilmington, Delaware, that, “We made it clear to President Putin that if he makes any more moves, goes into Ukraine, we will have severe sanctions. We will increase our presence in Europe with our NATO allies, and it will just be a heavy price to pay for it.”
Biden’s most recent warning to Biden came during a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not long after New Year’s Day. A transcript of the call released by the White House revealed that Biden reassured the Ukraine President that America would respond promptly and decisively if Russia opts to escalate the situation.
In a tweet following the call, Zelensky stressed how the call embodied the special nature of the relationship between the US and Ukraine, and added, “Joint actions of Ukraine, the United States and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, and deoligarchization were discussed. Ukraine appreciates the unwavering support.”