On Sunday, President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and vowed that the US and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.
Since about November, the US has been claiming Russia is plotting to invade Ukraine. Moscow denies the accusation, and at this point, it’s clear that Russia has no intention of invading as Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pushing for talks with the US and NATO.
The call with Zelensky came a few days after Biden spoke with Putin. A day after talking with Putin, Biden said he warned the Russian leader of “severe sanctions” and that the US could expand its military presence in Europe if Russia moves into Ukraine.
The US has been threatening that it could hit Russia with sanctions aimed at isolating Russia from the global financial system. According to a Kremlin official, Putin warned Biden during the call that if the US implements such sanctions, it will result in the “total severance” of US-Russia relations.
The US and Russia are set to hold security talks on January 10th. Russia has submitted a series of security proposals to the US that are expected to be discussed. Russia is seeking guarantees from the US that NATO won’t expand further eastward and absorb Ukraine.
Moscow also wants agreements on the deployment of US and NATO military deployments in the Black Sea and other sensitive areas near Russia. Since the US supported a coup in Ukraine in 2014, the US and NATO have significantly stepped up military activity in the region, and Russia is fed up.