Washington/Moscow, Feb 12 (EFE).- The United States and its allies will “impose swift and severe costs on Russia” in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden told Vladimir Putin on Saturday in a telephone call.
“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 said in a statement following the 62-minute-long conversation.
It was the first direct exchange between the two leaders since Dec. 30.
Biden, according to the statement, “reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.”
In a conference call with reporters, Putin’s top foreign policy adviser repeated the Kremlin’s denunciation of a “coordinated” effort in the West to generate fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine.
“Hysteria has reached its peak,” Yury Ushakov said. “We don’t understand false information about our intentions is passed to the media.”
Moscow insists it has no plan to attack Ukraine.
He said that US officials had even released “the date of the Russian invasion,” apparently alluding to a story in Washington media outlet Politico that cited unnamed sources as saying that the attack would begin Feb. 16.
At the same time, Ushakov said that Biden and Putin conducted a “balanced and business-like” conversation about Russia’s request to the US and NATO for security guarantees.
“The two presidents agreed that Moscow will carefully study the views that Biden expressed and if possible, take them into account when working on a reaction to the documents on the US and NATO’s positions,” the Kremlin adviser said.
Biden and Putin spoke hours after Washington ordered the departure of all non-essential US diplomats and other government personnel from Ukraine.
The US Embassy in Kyiv said that the withdrawal was “due to continued reports of a Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, indicating potential for significant military action.”
Officials also warned against traveling to Ukraine and advised US citizens in the country to depart immediately.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said Saturday that it was essential to remain calm and avoid actions that undermine stability and sow panic.
Dmytro Kuleba added that from the start of the build-up of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers on Ukraine’s border, the country’s leadership and the army had been working tirelessly to prepare for any aggressive actions against the nation. EFE arc-cae-jkz-fss/ch/dr