WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Face to face for over two hours, President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin squared off in a video call as Biden put the Kremlin on notice that an invasion of Ukraine would bring sanctions and enormous harm to the Russian economy.
With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border, the highly anticipated call between the two leaders came amid growing worries by the U.S. and Western allies about Russia’s threat to its neighbor. NewsNation’s DC bureau chief Mike Viqueria said similar situations with Russia have been seen before and the conflict in Ukraine had been coming for years.
“It has echoes of the Cold War and we are on the verge now of an international crisis,” Viqueria said on “Morning in America.” “The question is, which side is going to blink?”
There was no immediate breakthrough on the call to ease tensions on the Ukraine situation, but the U.S. emphasized a need for diplomacy and de-escalation, and issued stern threats to Russia on the consequences of an invasion.
Biden “told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures,” U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said after the call Tuesday. Viqueria said the sanctions being considered would be crippling to the Russian economy.
“The White House sets very high stakes now threatening Russia if they were to move forward with this purported invasion or potential invasion of eastern Ukraine,” Viqueria said.
At the White House, Sullivan said, “It was a useful meeting,” allowing Biden to lay out in candid terms where the US stands.
For the first time in Biden’s presidency, the U.S. is “putting it all out on the line very publicly” with Russia, Viqueria said.
“They are making very clear what the consequences would be for Vladimir Putin and Russia if he were to go forward with an invasion,” Viqueria said. “Those include arming NATO allies on Russia and eastern flank, like the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Romania was specifically mentioned as well. Also arming Ukraine, we do send arms to Ukraine now but that would step up as well, and crippling economic sanctions.”
Putin’s foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov dismissed the sanctions threat during a conference call with reporters.
“While the U.S. president talked about possible sanctions, our president emphasized what Russia needs,” Ushakov said. “Sanctions aren’t something new, they have been in place for a long time and will not have any effect.”
Biden has a call scheduled with his Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelensky Wednesday.
Analysis from NewsNation’s DC bureau chief Mike Viqueria.