The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with US President Joe Biden in Geneva in June 2021

Washington (AFP) - The United States will impose "severe economic harm" on Russia and boost its military presence in Eastern Europe should Moscow invade Ukraine, the White House warned Monday, laying out the high stakes on the eve of talks between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

The US president will also quickly inform his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky of the details of his discussion with Putin, taking place by videoconference Tuesday, as tens of thousands of Russian troops were positioned near the Ukraine border, a senior US official told reporters.

The official said the White House does not know if Putin has made a decision to launch his military forces against Ukraine -- and stopped short of threatening direct intervention of American military force should he do so.

But Biden will make clear that there "will be genuine and meaningful and enduring costs to choosing to go forward should (Russia) choose to go forward with a military escalation," the official said, on grounds of anonymity.

The United States and European allies are prepared to take "substantial economic countermeasures ... that would impose significant and severe economic harm on the Russian economy" if Russia attacks, the official said.

In addition, Biden will make clear that if Putin "moved in, there would be an increasing request from eastern flank allies and a positive response from the United States for additional forces and capabilities and exercises," they said.

Coordinated Response

The US official said that Biden will be speaking Monday with key European allies to coordinate their stances, and that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would also talk to Zelensky beforehand.

Underscoring the close coordination between Washington and Kiev, Biden will brief Zelensky after the call, the official said.

Ukraine has estimated that Russia has around 100,000 troops near its border.

Moscow denies any bellicose intentions and accuses the West of provocation, particularly with military exercises in the Black Sea, which it sees as part of its sphere of influence.

And Putin wants a promise from the West that Ukraine would not become a part of NATO, the transatlantic alliance created to confront the former Soviet Union.

Asked if the United States was prepared to send troops into Ukraine if Russia attacks, the official said they are "not seeking to end up in a circumstance in which the focus of our countermeasures is the direct use of American military force."

Such talk, the official added, "would be precipitous conflict saber-rattling, and we'd prefer to keep those communications with the Russians private."

The Pentagon made clear it was taking the Russian troop buildup as a serious threat.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin "did chair a meeting this morning with key departmental leaders, including the Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and General (Tod) Wolters out at EUCom (the US European Command) to discuss the situation in Ukraine and of course, in western Russia," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday.

"He is staying very keenly and closely informed by senior military and policy leaders here at the department about what we continue to see, " Kirby said.

The Kremlin said earlier Monday that Moscow is not expecting "breakthroughs" from the call.

"Although our bilateral relations are still in a very sad state, there is still a revival; dialogue is beginning in some areas," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States still believes that the Minsk agreements between Russia and the West on implementing a ceasefire in Ukraine's war with pro-Russia separatists were viable.

"We believe there is an opportunity, a window before us to resolve this diplomatically," Price said.

But if Russia does not show interest in that, he said the United States is prepared to apply "high-impact economic measures that we've refrained from using in the past."


Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
<script type="text/javascript" src="https://log.nordot.jp/js/beacon-1.1.0.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> nor.pageviewURL = "https://log.nordot.jp/pageview"; nor.setPageData({ opttype: "unknown", pagetype: "detail", conttype: "post", uiid: "e_S481RqwJFu", postid: "840690323255345152", contdata: { title: "US vows to boost military presence if Russia attacks Ukraine", numimg: 1, cvrimg: 0, pubdate: "1638826914", chlang: "en-US" }, chunitid: "316764360067056737", cuunitid: "731904312584683520" }); nor.pageview(); </script>