Russia-Ukraine tensions: Biden says he would consider sanctioning Putin; EU divided on response

Russia-Ukraine tensions: Biden says he would consider sanctioning Putin; EU divided on response
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden gestures during a meeting with his Infrastructure Implementation Task Force in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The backstory:

  • Russia has stationed about 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian-Russian border. Many of them have been moved there in the past year, which has worried many that Russia is about to invade Ukraine again, only eight years after the annexation of Crimea.
  • After the annexation, Russia was booted out of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – an international military alliance consisting of countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and European nations.
  • Russia denies that they’re about to invade Ukraine (a former Soviet state) again, but they have also sent some demands to the West, one of which is that Ukraine can never enter NATO. This has some people thinking that the troops are there so that the West will take Russia’s demands seriously.
  • Last week, the UK and US both said that an invasion could occur quickly and to get ready. And for the past few days, some countries have started withdrawing officials and their families from Ukraine, getting ready from a military standpoint to help NATO members and getting sanctions ready. For example, the US have about 8,500 troops ready for deployment.

The development:

  • In response to the US getting their troops ready, a Kremlin spokesman warned that this move “exacerbates tensions.”
  • Meanwhile, President Biden said he’d consider sanctioning Putin if Russia attacks Ukraine.
  • TMS spoke with Pavel Slunkin, a visiting fellow at the European Council, and he said he doesn’t think Putin yet knows whether or not he will invade. This is something that Biden also mentioned, saying, “I don’t think even his people know for certain what he’s going to do.”
  • Biden and European allies had a “very, very, very good meeting,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “Total unanimity with all the European leaders.”
  • But, it has been revealed by an anonymous source that even though Western allies are trying to present a united front, countries are a bit divided on what would be even classified as an invasion and also how the West should respond. The European Commission has also said that they will only show the public their sanctioning plans if an invasion does happen.
  • Washington and NATO are planning to respond to Russia’s demands in writing in the coming days.

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