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Joe Biden warns Vladimir Putin on ‘decisive’ action if Russia ‘further’ invades Ukraine

New Delhi: US President Joe Biden on Saturday (February 12, 2022) told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the West would respond decisively to any invasion of Ukraine and added that such a step would produce widespread suffering and isolate Moscow.

In the latest effort to manage growing hostility, the two leaders spoke over the phone for an hour, a day after Washington and its allies warned that the Russian military, which has 1,00,000 troops massed near Ukraine, could invade at ‘any moment’.

“President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia,” the White House said in a statement. 

Biden also reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and ‘diminish Russia’s standing.’ 

“President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios,” the White House added.

Putin, jostling for influence in post-Cold War Europe, is seeking security guarantees from Biden to block Ukraine’s entry into NATO and missile deployments near Russia’s borders.

Moscow has also repeatedly disputed Washington’s version of events, saying it has massed the troops near the Ukrainian border to maintain its own security against aggression by NATO allies.

ALSO READ | Russia-Ukraine conflict: Why is Moscow so obsessed with Keiv and can crisis trigger a possible World War III?

The call took place amid Israel, Portugal and Belgium joining the list of countries that urged their citizens to leave Ukraine immediately.

Earlier on Saturday, the US State Department ordered most of its embassy staff to leave Ukraine. The Pentagon said it was withdrawing about 150 military trainers.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, several thousand filed through the centre of the city, chanting ‘Glory to Ukraine’ and carrying banners that said ‘Ukrainians will resist’ and ‘invaders must die’.

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