Putin Warns Biden Major Sanctions Over Ukraine Would Sever US-Russia Ties

Biden warned Putin the US would 'respond decisively' if Russia invades

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned President Biden during a call on Thursday that if the US implemented major sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, it would result in the “total severance” of US-Russia relations, an aide to Putin told reporters.

Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said Putin made the comments in response to Biden threatening sanctions.

“Our president immediately responded to that by saying that if the West goes ahead to introduce above mentioned unprecedented sanctions, then all that could cause a total severance of relations between our countries, and most serious damage will be done to Russia’s relations with the West in general,” Ushakov said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

Since November, the US has been claiming Russia is plotting an invasion of Ukraine, an accusation Putin denies. Biden administration officials have warned that if Russia invades, the US could hit Moscow with major sanctions aimed at isolating Russia from the global financial system, similar to how countries like Iran and Cuba are sanctioned.

The phone call between Biden and Putin lasted 50 minutes and was the second time the two leaders spoke this month amid heightened tensions. In a readout of the call, the White House said Biden warned Putin the US and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.

The call comes ahead of planned security talks between US and Russian officials in Geneva that are scheduled for January 10th. Russia will also hold talks with NATO on January 12th, and both the US and Russia will attend a meeting of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on January 13th.

Russia is seeking guarantees from the US that NATO won’t expand further east and absorb Ukraine. Moscow submitted a list of security proposals to Washington and is eager to negotiate them. In recent years, the US and NATO have significantly stepped up their presence in the Black Sea and other areas near Russia, and the Russians are fed up with the Western provocations.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.