¿Joe Biden will dissuade Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine? Does the Russian president really intend to do so? The two leaders hold a remote meeting this Tuesday to try to avoid an escalation.
The US president and his Russian counterpart have already met several times by phone and saw each other in June in Geneva, a meeting that the Biden administration judged positive in its process of creating a “stable” and predictable relationship. “
SIGHT: Russia plans military offensive against Ukraine in early 2022 with 175,000 soldiers, the US warns.
This time, however, the meeting takes place in a highly volatile context, in the form of a videoconference at 10:00 am in Washington (3:00 pm GMT).
Washington and Kiev accuse Moscow of deploying troops to the border with Ukraine to attack the country, repeating the scenario that occurred in 2014 when the Russians annexed the Crimean peninsula. Since then, more than 13,000 people have died in the conflict that broke out.
- Ukraine says Russia accumulates 94,000 troops on border and fears “major escalation”
- US willing to increase troops in Eastern Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine
- Biden says he is preparing measures to protect Ukraine from a Russian attack
Experts are divided: many think that Vladimir Putin is exaggerating, but few totally rule out the hypothesis of an attack.
If Moscow goes to the act, a senior White House official said Monday that the United States was ready to act.
“The United States would respond affirmatively” to an increased military presence by its NATO allies in Eastern Europe. And then he would strengthen his support for the Ukrainian army.
SIGHT: US: Antony Blinken Warns Russia of “Serious Consequences” If Ukraine Attacks
Washington would establish tough economic sanctions against the Putin regime, but different from those it imposed since 2014 against Russia, which have no effect.
However, the senior official made it clear that for the moment Washington rules out a direct military response, since it does not want to “find itself in a position in which the direct use of its forces” is what prevails in its evaluations.
Joe Biden, who has called Putin a “murderer”, is in a complex situation.
It has to handle the Ukrainian crisis tactfully, if it does not want to arouse criticism from its traditional allies, already outraged after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, completely chaotic and without consultation between them.
Joe Biden will personally communicate to Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski the outcome of the meeting with Putin. And on Monday, he spoke “with key European allies” to “coordinate the message” and “strong transnational solidarity.”
Faced with “tensions between Russia and Ukraine,” the leaders of Germany, the United States, France, Italy and the United Kingdom “expressed their determination that the sovereignty” of Ukraine “be respected,” the French presidency said in a statement.
The question is whether this deterrence strategy will pay off with Putin, always concerned about his international stature.
“It is difficult to expect progress in these negotiations,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, stating that bilateral relations are unlikely to be fixed “in a few hours” of talks.
Moscow wants a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO, as so many countries in the former Soviet bloc have done.
Neither Kiev nor Washington is committing to this, although Ukraine’s accession process to the Western military alliance, officially open, seems frozen.
Some experts believe that the very holding of this summit is in itself a victory for Putin, who wants to affirm Russia as a power in the global geopolitical game, currently dominated by the rivalry between China and the United States.
There is also speculation that Washington may cut Russia out of the SWIFT bank identification system, a key cog in global finance that allows banks to transfer money.
“They say it is the cheap version of a nuclear weapon, but I don’t think [las sanciones] have such an impact, ”says Bruce Jentleson, a professor of political science at Duke University and an advisor to the State Department from 2009 to 2011.
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