Putin warns Biden sanctions over Ukraine tension would be ‘a colossal mistake’

Ukraine: Putin has 'framed the debate' surrounding de-escalation

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

He said it could lead to a total collapse in relations between his country and the West. The fall-out came after the two leaders spoke amid growing alarm over Russia’s relentless troop build-up near the east European state. Some analysts fear the Kremlin could order an invasion within days, with more than 100,000 Russian troops now deployed on the border.

The call, requested by Russia, was the pair’s second such conversation in December and lasted for almost an hour.

It marked the latest effort to defuse tensions over the crisis. The build-up has prompted concern in the West, with the US threatening Mr Putin with sanctions “like none he’s ever seen” if Ukraine comes under attack.

Russia, however, denies it is planning to invade the country and says the troops are there for exercises. It says it is entitled to move its troops freely on its own soil.

But further US sanctions “would be a colossal mistake that would entail grave consequences”, said Mr Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov, who briefed reporters in Moscow after the phone call.

He added that Mr Putin told US president Mr Biden that Russia would act as the US would if offensive weapons were deployed near American borders.

White House officials offered a far more muted analysis, suggesting the leaders have agreed there are areas where they can make meaningful progress but also differences that might be impossible to resolve.

US press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden “urged Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine” and “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine”.

Mr Biden told Mr Putin the two powers now face “two paths”: diplomacy or American deterrence through sanctions.

The call came ahead of scheduled talks between senior US and Russian officials on January 9 and 10 in Geneva.

They will be followed by a meeting of the Russia-Nato Council on January 12, and negotiations at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna on January 13.

Source: Read Full Article