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Will Make Any Russian Invasion Of Ukraine “Very, Very Difficult”: US

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US President Joe Biden has said he is putting in place “the most comprehensive set of initiatives.”

Washington:

US President Joe Biden said on Friday he would make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to launch an invasion of Ukraine, which has warned that a full-scale attack could be scheduled for next month.

Washington and Kiev claim Moscow has massed troops near Ukraine’s borders and accuse Russia of planning an invasion.

Biden and President Vladimir Putin are due to hold a video call shortly to discuss the rising tensions, both sides confirmed on Friday.

Biden told reporters in Washington that he was putting in place “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to move forward and do what the people fear it will “.

Moscow took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since supported separatists fighting Kiev in the east of the country. The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

“The most likely time to prepare for an escalation will be the end of January,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told parliament in Kiev on Friday.

An article in the Washington Post on Friday citing US officials and an intelligence document said Russia was planning a multi-front offensive involving up to 175,000 troops as early as next year.

Reznikov said a “winter training period” had started in Russia and Moscow had already launched exercises near Ukrainian territory.

He estimated that Russia had around 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Russia denies any military reinforcement.

“This is our land”

On the front line in eastern Ukraine, government troops have declared themselves ready to repel any Russian assault.

“Our task is simple: not to let the enemy enter our country,” a soldier named Andriy, 29, told AFP, smoking in a trench near the front town of Svitlodarsk. .

“All of our guys are ready to hold them back. This is our land, we will protect it until the end,” added another soldier, Yevgen, 24.

Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters that a date had been agreed for the Putin-Biden video summit, but that it would not be announced until final details of the talks were also released. fixed.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the appeal was expected “in the very near future”.

When asked if he had spoken to Putin on Friday morning, Biden shouted “no” as he left a press conference in Washington.

He did not give more details on his planned “initiatives” on Ukraine.

Putin warned the West and Kiev against crossing the “red lines” of the Kremlin concerning the organization of military exercises and the constitution of weapons in Ukraine.

When reporters asked Biden if he would accept Putin’s line, he replied, “I won’t accept anyone’s red line.”

Despite increased contact between the two rivals since Putin and Biden first met at a summit in Geneva in June, tensions remain high.

In addition to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia and the United States continue to quarrel over cyber attacks and the staffing of their embassies, after several waves of diplomatic expulsions.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told AFP on Friday that he rejected any attempt to get him to abandon his NATO membership plan.

Moscow wants to see the end of NATO’s eastward expansion, after much of Eastern Europe joined the alliance after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Agreeing to abandon his plan to join the alliance “is not an option,” Kuleba said on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting in Stockholm.

“I reject this idea that we must guarantee anything to Russia. I insist that it is Russia that must guarantee that it will not continue its aggression against any country,” he said. .

NATO officially opened the door to Ukraine’s membership in 2008, although no progress has been made since.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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