Amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US government has warned Moscow of severe consequences if its forces invade Ukraine, while insisting on a diplomatic solution to the standoff.
“We are actively working to reach a diplomatic solution to de-escalate the crisis. Over the weekend, as you all know, the President (Joe Biden) spoke with (Russian) President Putin, and we remain engaged with the Russian government in full coordination with our allies and partners,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “The path for diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage constructively,” she added.
However, we are clear-eyed about the prospects of that, given the steps Russia is taking on the ground, she said, as President Joe Biden reached out to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the situation. The duo discussed their recent diplomatic engagements with Ukraine and Russia and also reviewed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s continued military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the White House said.
The two leaders also discussed efforts to reinforce the defensive posture on NATOs eastern flank and underlined the continued close coordination among allies and partners, including on readiness to impose severe consequences on Russia should it choose further military escalation, the White House said.
During the White House news conference, Jean-Pierre said they are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time. “We will not comment on any details of our intelligence information except that it could begin this week, despite a lot of speculation that it would happen after the Olympic. It remains unclear which path Russia will choose to take,” she said adding that the US is ready for any situation.
She said Biden with his call with Putin this weekend made it amply clear that if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States, together with its allies and partners, will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia.
Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing, she said.
At a separate news conference, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby announced that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is going to travel to Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania. He will meet with allied defense ministers and NATO leadership to discuss Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine.
Besides issuing a stern warning to Russia, the Biden government has also called China’s support for Moscow on the issue “deeply alarming” and one which could destabilize the security situation in Europe.
“Their tacit support, if you will, for Russia is deeply alarming and frankly even more destabilizing to the security situation in Europe,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters in Washington on Monday.