WH: Biden warns Putin about invading Ukraine

During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said President Biden told President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. would respond with “strong economic measures.”

Video Transcript

JAKE SULLIVAN: As you all know, President Biden held a secure video call today with President Putin. The call covered a range of issues, but the main topic was Ukraine. President Biden was direct and straightforward with President Putin, as he always is. He reiterated America's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures. We would provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians, above and beyond that which we are already providing. And we would fortify our NATO allies on the Eastern Flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.

He also told President Putin there's another option, de-escalation and diplomacy. The United States and our European allies would engage in a discussion that covers larger strategic issues, including our strategic concerns with Russia and Russia's strategic concerns.

We managed to do this at the height of the Cold War and we developed mechanisms to help reduce instability and increase transparency. We've done this in the post-Cold War era through the NATO-Russia Council, the OSCE, and other mechanisms. There's no reason we can't do that forward-- going forward, provided that we are operating in a context of de-escalation rather than escalation.

The United States, as we have been for some time, is also prepared to support efforts to advance the Minsk Agreement, in support of the Normandy Format. This could include a cease fire and confidence building measures that helps drive the process forward.

As I said before, the discussion between President Biden and President Putin was direct and straightforward. There was a lot of give and take. There was no finger wagging. But the president was crystal clear about where the United States stands on all of these issues.

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