If Russia invades Ukraine, US President Joe Biden says he will explore personal sanctions on Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Biden stated that a move by Russia against the country on its south-western border would have “enormous ramifications” for the world.
His remarks came as other Western leaders warned that if Russia invaded, it would pay a high price.
Russia has accused the US and others of “escalating tensions” over the matter, and has stated that it has no plans to invade Ukraine.
Moscow, on the other hand, has stationed an estimated 100,000 troops near the border.
The Kremlin has stated that it views Nato, the Western military alliance, as a security danger and has demanded formal assurances that it will not admit new members further east, including Ukraine. However, the United States has stated that the problem at hand is Russian aggression, not Nato expansion.
Western embassies in Kyiv have withdrawn some personnel due to fears of invasion. While the troop buildup “poses a threat to Ukraine,” Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on Wednesday that he believes it is “insufficient for a full-scale offensive.”
On Wednesday, diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France met in Paris to discuss the growing tensions.
On Tuesday, when asked if he could envision himself personally implementing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin in the case of an invasion, Mr Biden said “absolutely.”
A move beyond Ukraine’s border would have “global ramifications” and may amount to “the greatest invasion since World War II,” he claimed.
On Wednesday, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss echoed Mr Biden’s remarks, telling the BBC’s Today programme that the government has “ruled nothing out,” including sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that the country is looking to “toughen up” its sanctions on individuals, banks, and businesses.
“What matters is that all of our allies follow suit. It is accomplished by group activity. We can assist avert a Russian assault by demonstrating our unity to Putin “she stated
During crisis discussions earlier this week, Western powers pledged to “unprecedented” sanctions against Russia if it invaded.
On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the subject of Russia’s exclusion from the Swift international payment system, a move that senior Russian officials claimed would prevent Europe from paying for and receiving Russian goods.
Mr. Biden’s words elicited a furious retaliation from Russia. Mr Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said any measures would be “politically harmful” rather than “painful” for the president.
He went on to say that Russia’s senior government officials were prohibited from having any assets or accounts outside the country, and that Mr Putin’s pay was paid into the Rossiya bank.
Separately, according to the New York Times, Mr. Biden’s administration is negotiating with oil and gas providers around the world to increase exports to Europe in the event that Russia cuts off supply.
Russia presently supplies nearly a third of the European Union’s crude oil and gas imports.
President of the European Council Charles Michel warned that aggression against Ukraine will have significant consequences during a press conference on Wednesday.
“A threat to Ukraine is a threat to Europe,” he declared.