The United States will not send troops into a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but is ready to “bolster” NATO allies, Washington said ahead of the phone call between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“We don’t know if Putin has made a decision regarding further military escalation in Ukraine, but we do know that he is building the capacity to engage in such escalation if he decides to do so,” a senior administration official Biden told reporters during a background briefing Monday.
The United States is not looking for a scenario in which its army would be used in a conflict between Moscow and Kiev, but would be “Prepared to strengthen the allies on NATO’s eastern flank”, the official said, according to Reuters. The idea that Russian troops are preparing for a “invasion” in Ukraine, reproduced in the mainstream media in recent days, has been denigrated by the Kremlin.
Biden intends to tell Putin that there will be “Very clear costs” if Russia attacks Ukraine, the official added. It has also been revealed that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of the phone call with Putin, and Biden himself will call him afterwards.
Moscow has rejected US intelligence claims that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine in late January as “fake news”.
“We see a lot of fake news about Russia’s allegedly planned ‘aggression’ against Ukraine being peddled,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RT in an exclusive interview ahead of the presidential phone call.
“We see NATO displaying an extremely hostile stance, we hear the rhetoric of [NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg, rhetoric of various representatives of the United States ”, saying that NATO can and will do whatever it wants and will not recognize any of the “red lines,” Peskov added.
In the meantime, he noted, there is not a single word of warning from the West to Ukraine not to attempt to resolve the dispute with two eastern provinces by force.
The two self-proclaimed Donbass republics, Donetsk and Lugansk, split from Ukraine after a Western-backed coup overthrew the Kiev government in February 2014. The following month, Crimeans voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.