Russia has sparked international concerns by stationing military equipment and thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine.
In response to the perceived threat to invade the former Soviet state, U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly told his Russian counterpart that America and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia makes any provocating moves.
“Serious and substantive”
According to The Hill, the warning came on Thursday during a phone call between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the two world leaders discussed the tenuous situation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement following the call in which she signaled that Biden attempted to convince Put to “de-escalate tensions” in the region.
“He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” Psaki said.
She went on to assert that U.S. officials are hopeful that “substantial progress” in diplomatic negotiations will be achieved at three upcoming meetings.
A senior Biden administration official provided additional information to reporters in a conversation on Thursday evening, characterizing the Biden-Putin conversation as “serious and substantive.”
“Costs and consquences”
The White House insider indicated that Biden “laid out two paths” regarding how the U.S. would respond to the actions of Russia.
“One is a path of diplomacy leading toward a de-escalation of the situation, and the other is a path that’s more focused on deterrence, including serious costs and consequences should Russia choose to proceed with a further invasion of Ukraine,” the official said.
Among the “costs and consequences” reportedly on the table are economic sanctions and increased defensive assistance for Ukraine. Biden himself addressed the development in remarks to reporters in Delaware on Friday.
“I made it clear to President Putin that if he — he makes any more moves and goes into Ukraine, we will have severe sanctions,” he said. “We will increase our — our presence in Europe with our NATO allies, and it will have to be a heavy price to pay for it.”
Asked about the possibility of additional consequences for Russia, Biden said that he would not “negotiate here in public” but reiterated that Putin “cannot — I emphasize cannot — move on Ukraine.”