The Biden administration is taking a strong stance with Russia over the Ukraine debacle. Yesterday, NATO and the Biden administration told Russia that there would be no concessions.
Russia has put about 100,000 troops and military equipment on Ukraine’s border, which has led to fear of invasion. However, Moscow keeps denying it has any intention of invading, CNBC News reported.
One of Russia’s demands is that Ukraine be permanently barred from NATO membership. But on Wednesday, the U.S. and NATO confirmed that the organization would maintain its open-door policy for membership, the Associated Press reported.
Russia was also informed that allied deployment of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe was non-negotiable.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that any invasion of Ukraine would lead to economic problems and severe consequences for Russia, clarifying this is also non-negotiable for the U.S. and other European countries.
“There is no change; there will be no change,” Blinken said, according to the AP.
The UK and the EU — along with the U.S. — have promised that they will impose new economic sanctions on Russia if it invades, according to CNBC.
“All told it sets out a serious diplomatic path forward, should Russia choose it,” Blinken said, regarding communication sent to Russia, the AP reported.
“The document we’ve delivered includes concerns of the United States and our allies and partners about Russia’s actions that undermine security, a principled and pragmatic evaluation of the concerns that Russia has raised and our own proposals for areas where we may be able to find common ground,” he added.
Russia did not have any immediate response to this new strong stance from the U.S. and Europe. But Russian officials did previously warn that Moscow would take “retaliatory measures” if the U.S. and its allies reject its demands.
“We’ll see how they respond,” Blinken said. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that if Russia were to approach this seriously and in a spirit of reciprocity with a determination to enhance collective security for all of us, there are very positive things in this, in this document that could be pursued. We can’t make that decision for President Putin.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this whole issue with Russia and Ukraine comes down to an issue of respecting a nation’s sovereignty and upholding that respect in order to maintain stability and security.
“We cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which the security of our alliance, and security in Europe and North America rest. This is about respecting nations and their right to choose their own path,” Stoltenberg explained.
The trouble for Europe is that it is strongly dependent on Russia for energy, which Russia is using as leverage.
Russia supplies Europe with about 40 percent of all its natural gas, according to CNBC. The massive Nord Stream 2 pipeline, from Russia to Germany, has just increased the reliance the EU has on Russia.
But the U.S., which is interested in increasing gas exports to the EU, condemned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
In these tensions with Russia, the U.S. seems to be sending the signal they are ready to break Europe free from its energy dependence on Russia, as Timothy Ash, a senior emerging markets sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, noted, according to CNBC.
Previously, some were calling out the Biden administration for conceding too much to Russia, which they saw as a sign of weakness.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized Biden’s handling of Russia in the past on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” The Hill reported.
“I think this president has made so many concessions with nothing in return. That’s why Putin smells weakness,” he said.
But with this new communication to Russia, analysts are commenting this is the strongest response they have seen from the administration.
“I have been monitoring U.S. sanctions language on Russia since 2014, and what we are seeing below is a huge step up,” Ash said, CNBC reported.
“The U.S. officials are saying to Putin, ‘Bring it on. You go into Ukraine, we are going to sanction you to hell. And try retaliation via cutting energy supplies to Europe. We are planning for that — we will get Europe [through] the winter, and you will end up as the loser.’ The U.S. is trying to help Europe break its energy dependence on Russia,” he added.
Now everyone is waiting for Russia to respond, and there are some concerns that Russia will simply not back down — as they have previously signaled.
“If the West continues its aggressive course, Moscow will take the necessary retaliatory measures,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to the AP. “We won’t allow our proposals to be drowned in endless discussions.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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