Ukraine crisis.. NATO calls for meeting with Russia, and Biden counts on deterrence against Putin

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) called on Tuesday for a meeting with Russia to discuss the military escalation in Ukraine, while US President Joe Biden’s strategy focuses on deterrence and imposing unparalleled sanctions to confront his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, whom the West accuses of plotting to invade Ukraine. .

A NATO official told Reuters that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had called for a meeting between NATO and Russia on January 12.

“Any dialogue with Russia must be based on reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, and participate in consultations with European alliance partners,” he added.

Urgent Talks

Urgent talks between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France on the Ukraine crisis are scheduled for next Thursday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported earlier.

This comes at a time when US President Joe Biden has doubled down on his warnings to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine.

The West accuses Moscow of massing tens of thousands of its soldiers on the Ukrainian border, and of contemplating a new “aggression” after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

In this volatile atmosphere, the United States and the Europeans have accepted a series of talks next week with Russia, which has proposed agreements to limit NATO expansion at its doorstep.

US officials say they are ready to discuss both sides’ concerns, but they have also made clear that most Russian demands are unacceptable.

Earlier, Joe Biden said he had directly threatened his Russian counterpart with “economic consequences he had never seen before” if he decided to invade Ukraine.

The sanctions on the table, even if Washington doesn’t talk about them in detail, could be very harsh on the Russian economy.

Western options

Westerners may decide to blacklist more people close to Vladimir Putin, denying them access to their American or European assets.

They can also “dry up” investments in Russia and prevent the export of Western technologies to that country, warned William Tyler, the former US ambassador to Kiev and vice president of the think-tank of the United States Institute of Peace.

Finally, they can threaten to resort to the so-called “nuclear option,” that is, isolating Russia from the “Swift” system, the primary tool in global finance that allows banks to trade money.

But this step can only be a last option because of its negative repercussions on the European and American economy.

The West also brandished the energy card, as German diplomacy threatened not to allow the operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, the project dear to Moscow, in the event of further Russian escalation.

It is noteworthy that Joe Biden announced that he does not intend to drag the largest power in the world into a new conflict abroad.

But the Americans have warned that they will send more weapons to Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack, and they could also equip local militias.

The United States could also provide its Ukrainian allies with intelligence by increasing the number of reconnaissance flights.

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