Biden administration talks diplomacy as Russian troops mass at Ukraine border

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden will hold a highly anticipated phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This exchange comes as U.S. intelligence officials warn that Russian forces are planning to invade neighboring Ukraine.

The White House says that Biden is preparing to send a stark warning to Putin in the virtual phone call.

“The president is not going to hold back,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary. “We’ve seen the same playbook in 2014. This is the moment for Russia to pull back their military forces at the border.”

Psaki said that the U.S. and NATO allies are threatening to sanction Russia if Putin refuses to draw back tens of thousands of troops that are now populating the boarder.

“We have made clear to Moscow that we will respond resolutely,” Psaki said.

At a press conference on Monday, state department spokesperson Ned Price said that potential sanctions would be crippling and would have “high impact economic measures that we refrained from using in the past.”

So far, NATO allies are not threatening military action.

“I’m not going to get ahead of the president’s conversation with our transatlantic partners,” Psaki said. “Diplomacy is the right path forward here.”

Tuesday’s call will be the first meeting between the two leaders in six months.

It remains unclear if Putin will in fact go through with an invasion of sovereign Ukraine. The Russian leader is expected to demand that U.S. and allies draw back NATO expansion in the region.

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