“I have made it clear early on to President (Vladimir) Putin that if he were to move into Ukraine, there would be severe consequences, including significant economic sanctions, as well as I would feel obliged to beef up our presence — NATO’s presence on the eastern front: Poland, Romania etc.,” Biden told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Biden had a meeting with his national security team. “There has been no change in the posture of the Russian forces. They are along the entire Belarus border,” he said.
At the same time, Biden said the US has no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces in Ukraine. “But as I said, there are going to be serious economic consequences if he (Putin) moves,” he asserted.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that there are one lakh Russian troops at the border, bellicose rhetoric, and actions, including false-flag operations to try to spread misinformation throughout the region and even the world, setting up the predicate for an invasion.
“So, while, of course, our preferred path is diplomacy — and we cannot predict where the mind of President Putin is — we have certainly seen aggressive actions and preparations increasing at the border,” she said.
Responding to a question, Psaki welcomed any efforts to de-escalate the tensions in the region. “We certainly welcome any efforts to de-escalate and we are in touch with a range of allies and partners on this. But I do not have any specific conversations to read out that relate to Indian officials,” she said.
The Pentagon said it has put some troops here domestically on a heightened alert posture.
“They have not been ordered to deploy. The NATO Response Force has not been activated and General Walters has resources already, I mean, tens of thousands of troops that we have stationed in Europe, again, some on rotational orders, that he could move around in consultation and coordination clearly with the allies,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a separate news conference.
Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss to take stock of recent engagements to deter Russia from its troubling military build-up in and near Ukraine.
“The United States and the United Kingdom are coordinating with each other, as well as with NATO and European allies and partners, to encourage Russia to de-escalate tensions and commit to a path of diplomacy,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.
“The Secretary and Foreign Secretary Truss also discussed coordination to stand firmly against economic coercion by the People’s Republic of China, and how to reach a successful conclusion on talks with Iran on mutual return to implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he added.