President Joe Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty on Sunday in a call with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Biden said the U.S. and its allies and partners “will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” according to a statement from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
She stated that the leaders supported diplomatic efforts by a series meeting, which will begin next week at NATO via the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Three days ago, Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin warning that any Russian military advance in Ukraine would have unprecedented diplomatic and economic consequences.
The U.S. and its European allies have discussed possible options for retaliation, which could include sanctions on Russian banks and exports of the country’s commodities. It would be economically most difficult to remove Russia from SWIFT, an international payment system.
According to the U.S., the huge Russian military presence in Ukraine may be preparation for an invasion.
While the Kremlin claims it does not intend to invade neighboring countries, the Kremlin also demands security assurances from the West. This includes a ban on the expansion of NATO to include former Soviet states like Georgia and Ukraine as well as a withdrawal of NATO forces in Europe back to 1997 positions. These conditions were rejected by NATO allies and American officials.
For its part, Ukraine sees little danger at present of “open aggression” from Russia or any large increase in the number of Russian troops near its border, National Security and Defense Council chief Oleksiy Danilov said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.
Eight years ago, Russia annexed Crimea and stoked a military conflict in Ukraine’s two easternmost regions. Last year, fighting flared when the Kremlin placed troops along the border of its Soviet satellite and claimed it was carrying out drills. Though the conflict eased after discussions between Putin and Biden, Russia hasn’t pulled back all its troops and equipment.
—Daryna Kresnolutska provided assistance