New Delhi: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden on Monday (February 14, 2022) agreed there was a crucial window for diplomacy and a chance for Russia to step back and avert disaster in Ukraine.
The two leaders, during a phone call, emphasised that any further incursion into Ukraine would result in a ‘protracted crisis’ for Moscow, with far-reaching damage for both Russia and the world.
“They agreed there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine,” a 10 Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement after the call.
President Biden and I agreed this evening there is a crucial window for diplomacy & for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine.
We are united in the face of such threats.
Further incursion into Ukraine will result in far reaching damage for Russia and the world.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 14, 2022
Western allies must remain united
Johnson and Biden agreed that western allies must remain united in the face of Russian threats, including imposing a significant package of sanctions should Russian aggression escalate.
The two leaders also reiterated the need for European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, a move which, more than any other, would strike at the heart of Moscow’s strategic interests.
The Prime Minister spoke to @POTUS Joe Biden this evening about the situation in Ukraine.
They agreed there remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to step back from its threats towards Ukraine.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 14, 2022
“They also reviewed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s continued military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House informed.
Johnson and Biden also agreed to remain in close contact as the situation evolves.
Russian invasion could begin at any time
White House Deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday told reporters that the United States is “clear-eyed” about the situation on the ground with tens of thousands of Russian troops massed along the Ukraine border.
A Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin at any time, including this week, the White House said.
“We will not comment on any details of our intelligence information except that — except to say that it could begin this week, despite a lot of speculation that it would happen after the Olympics,” Jean-Pierre added.
Tune in for a briefing with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. https://t.co/JJASoPdeYD
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 14, 2022
It is noteworthy that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s massive troop buildup along Ukraine’s border has left the World struggling to pinpoint if or when he might actually launch a military campaign.
Russia, as per reports, has more than 100,000 troops massed near the border of Ukraine. Moscow, however, denies Western accusations that it is planning an invasion but says it could take unspecified “military-technical” action unless a range of demands are met, including barring Kyiv from ever joining the NATO alliance.
(With agency inputs)