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May 19, 2022
Biden Tells Putin U.S. Will Impose ‘Swift And Severe Costs’ If Russia Invades Ukraine
politics

Biden Tells Putin U.S. Will Impose ‘Swift And Severe Costs’ If Russia Invades Ukraine

Topline
President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call Saturday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would lead to “swift and severe costs” for Russia, along with “widespread human suffering,” with Western officials warning that Russian forces encircling Ukraine appear poised to go into action at any moment.

US President Joe Biden (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a US-Russia summit at … [+] Villa La Grange in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

In an hour-long phone call, Biden told Putin if Russia expands its incursion into Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies would “respond decisively,” according to the White House.

Biden said the U.S. is prepared to continue on a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis, but stressed the U.S. and its allies are also “equally prepared for other scenarios.”

Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters Biden laid out plans to address Putin’s security demands during the call, which Putin said he would review, but Ushakov said they did not address “the central, key elements of Russian initiatives.”

Prior to Biden and Putin’s call, French President Emmanuel Macron told Putin by phone that sincere negotiations were not compatible with the escalating tensions, the Guardian reports.

Key Background
Russia has amassed about 130,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, with the U.S. officials warning Russia may invade after staging a fake Ukrainian attack. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan urged all Americans to evacuate Ukraine immediately on Friday, saying Russian forces were in position to “mount a major military action … any day now.” The State Department ordered most embassy personnel to leave the U.S. embassy in Kyiv on Saturday. The Pentagon said it will pull 160 military trainers out of Ukraine, following the U.K.’s decision to withdraw approximately 130 training troops. Putin has demanded NATO not allow Ukraine to join the alliance, a condition that has been rejected by the U.S. and other NATO members.

Tangent
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday morning, reiterating a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis remained open, but warning if Russia invades Ukraine, it would “result in a resolute, massive, and united Transatlantic response,” according to a readout of the call from the State Department.

Further Reading
Biden And Putin Will Talk Saturday As Ukraine Crisis Reaches Fever Pitch (Forbes)

US, UK Pull Military Trainers Out Of Ukraine With Russian Attack Possible ‘Any Day Now’ (Forbes) 

US Urges Americans To Leave Ukraine Within 48 Hours—But Insists Still Unclear Whether Russia Will Invade (Forbes)

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