Biden, Macron affirm continued support for diplomacy amid threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine

16 February 2022, 01:07 PM

Diplomacy should prevail in resolving the Russian military escalation on the Ukrainian border, amid the ongoing threat of further Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in a phone call on Feb. 15.

The White House says that the leaders reviewed their recent conversations with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky respectively, and affirmed their continued support for a diplomatic path forward.

In particular, Biden and Macron discussed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts undertaken “in close coordination with allies and partners in response to Russia’s military buildup along Ukraine’s borders.”

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The U.S. and French leaders also reaffirmed their readiness to impose severe consequences and to reinforce the defensive posture on NATO’s eastern flank.

On Feb. 12, Biden and Macron held separate phone talks with Putin, followed by the talks with Zelensky to discuss Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine.

On Feb. 15, Russia’s Defense Ministry said regiments from the Western and Southern Military Districts were returning to base following the completion of military exercises next to Ukraine’s borders.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. government “continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border,” on Feb. 11.

He warned that Russia could launch an invasion at any time, including during the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Politico political media outlet also reported on Feb. 11 that U.S. President Joe Biden told Western leaders that Russia would start a military assault on Ukraine as soon as Feb. 16.

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg news agency speculated that fresh Russian aggression against Ukraine could renew on Feb. 15.

Russia in turn accused the Western media of carrying out a “large-scale disinformation campaign.”

Later, the U.S. Department of Defense announced they could not confirm the media reports about the date of a possible invasion.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again said that the Ukrainian government has “everything under control.” He also declared Feb. 16, 2022 to be Unity Day in Ukraine.

Russia has deployed about 140,000 troops and equipment on or near the border with Ukraine, including naval and air force servicemen.

Russia has officially denied its intention to carry out a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, while continuing to arm and command its proxy groups in non-government controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

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