Kremlin has amassed forces to stage biggest incursion ‘since World War II’, says US president
Biden says he will personally sanction Putin if Russia invades Ukraine
An estimated 100,000 or so Russian troops are amassed on the Ukraine border. Mr Biden said if Vladimir Putin were to order them to move in “it would be the largest invasion since World War II, it would change the world.”
He added: “There would be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade … for Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences but enormous consequences worldwide.”
Sources told the Independent that the United States was preparing economic sanctions aiming to “maximise pain in the Kremlin” if Russia invades.
The plans, which were being discussed with partners and allies, could include export controls and financial sanctions, sources said.
They will be designed to “maximise pain the Kremlin while also minimising the spillover” elsewhere, the source said.
In the UK, Boris Johnson said he would “not hesitate” to toughen economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an invasion.
US to discuss energy supply with Qatar amid fears Russia could cut Europe off
Joe Biden will discuss global energy security with the leader of Qatar next week, the White House said amid concerns that Russia could cut off gas supplies to Europe.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will meet the president in the White House as the US launched talks with energy-producing states and firms bout a potential diversion of supplies to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine.
Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, discussed the matter with the foreign minister of Qatar, a top liquefied natural gas producer, in a phone call on Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter who requested anonymity.
Mr Tamim’s meeting with Mr Biden at the White House will provide the leaders with an opportunity to discuss “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies,” Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said in a statement.
Washington is concerned that Russia, which has massed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, could invade its neighbor, triggering US and European sanctions that would prompt the Kremlin to halt deliveries of Russian gas to Europe.
Liam James26 January 2022 02:30
UK and US discuss banning Russia from global payment platform
Boris Johnson said he was discussing banning Russia from the Swift global payments system with the United States.
Asked about the Swift payment system and whether Britain would ban Russia, Mr Johnson said: “There is no doubt that that would be a very potent weapon.”
“I’m afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that.”
Banishment from Swift would disrupt the international payments of Russian firms and institutions.
These could include blocking financial transfers from Russia’s three biggest banks, two additional sources said.
Liam James26 January 2022 01:30
Western leaders warn Russia it will pay high price if it invades Ukraine
French president Emmanuel Macron told Russia that it would “pay a high price” if any invasion of Ukraine went ahead (Thomas Kingsley writes).
Mr Macron’s warning came as he met new German leader Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Tuesday as eleventh-hour discussions to avert war in Europe continued.
“If there is an attack, there will be retaliation and the price [for Russia] will be very high,” Mr Macron said. He added that recent talks were a “god thing” but were yet to show any clear results.
His comments came on another day of fevered diplomatic discussions with British prime minister Boris Johnson also warning against any military action on Russia’s part, claiming it would prove “tragic and futile”.
He told the House of Commons: “If Russia pursues this path, many Russian mothers’ sons will not be coming home.”
Liam James26 January 2022 00:30
Ukraine situation ‘not de-escalating’ yet, says US State Department
The situation with Russian troops at the Ukraine border is not considered to be moving in the right direction, the US State Department said.
Ned Price, the US State Department spokesman, said in a press briefing: ‘I don’t think we’ve seen any concrete evidence of de-escalation just yet
’”We haven’t seen the de-escalation that is necessary for diplomacy and dialogue to be successful.
“There is not a precondition for dialogue and diplomacy, but there is a precondition for that dialogue and diplomacy moving in the right direction … and that precondition is de-escalation.”
Liam James25 January 2022 23:30
Biden warns Russia of ‘enormous global consequences’ of Ukraine invasion
Joe Biden has said there would be “enormous consequences” globally if Russia invaded Ukraine.
Russia is thought to have amassed more than 100,000 troops on the border with its neighbour and is feared to be planning an invasion. Western leaders are anticipating Russia’s next move.
Talking to reporters about the US approach to the situation on a visit to a gift shop in DC, Mr Biden said: “There would be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade – as he could – the entire country … for Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences but enormous consequences worldwide.”
“If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.”
Liam James25 January 2022 22:38
Russia-Ukraine: Key points from Tuesday
9am: ‘Russian military associates already in Ukraine’, says UK defence minister [post]
11am: UK would face record-high gas prices if Russia invades Ukraine [post]
1pm: Boris Johnson warns Putin invasion of Ukraine would be ‘tragic and futile’ [post]
2pm: UK foreign secretary Liz Truss to visit Ukraine [post]
5pm: French president Macron to call Putin on friday for “clarification” on Ukraine situation [post]
6pm: Ukraine president urges public not to panic [post]
7pm: US prepares sanctions to ‘maximise pain’ for Russia if it invades Ukraine [post]
Liam James25 January 2022 22:30
Russia-Ukraine escalation likely to force energy prices up
An escalated conflict between Russia and Ukraine would likely force energy prices higher for many countries, sustaining high inflation rates, a top International Monetary Fund (IMF) official has said.
Gita Gopinath, second in command at the IMF, said the situation now was far different than in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and energy prices fell quite sharply amid low demand and ample shale gas supplies.
“This time around … if this conflict were to happen, you would see an increase in energy prices,” Ms Gopinath told Reuters, noting the current crisis was unfolding in winter and natural gas reserves were much lower in Europe.
Prices of other commodities exported by Russia such as were also rising, and could trigger a “bigger, broad-based increase” in commodities prices if the conflict ratcheted up, she told Reuters after the release of the IMF’s updated World Economic Outlook.
Russia’s economy contracted by 3.7 per cent in 2015 due to falling oil prices and international sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea.
The IMF currently estimates that Russia’s economy will grow 2.8 per cent in 2022, but that forecast does not include concerns about the conflict, Ms Gopinath said.
Liam James25 January 2022 21:40
Watch: Biden says he will personally sanction Putin if Russia invades Ukraine
Reporter asks Biden about personal sanctions
Liam James25 January 2022 21:05
‘Encouraging’ signs from Biden against Russian aggression, says McConnell
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US senate, is a frequent critic of Joe Biden.
However, he said on Tuesday that the US president’s administration is “moving in the right direction” regarding its response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Last week, Mr McConnell said Mr Biden had “telegraphed passivity and weakness” to the Kremlin, which has amassed more than 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border.
But this view appears to have changed. “What I’ve been hearing since then is encouraging, that they’re prepared to take steps before an incursion, not afterwards,” he said in Kentucky.
Rory Sullivan25 January 2022 20:30
More US military hardware lands in Ukraine
The US has delivered more military hardware to Ukraine amid the threat of a Russian incursion.
Anti-tank missiles were seen being unloaded on Tuesday, as part of Washington’s $200m security package supporting Kyiv.
Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked his allies for the latest delivery.
“Javelins in Kyiv! A new cargo of security aid – launchers & missiles – with a total weight of about 80 tons. We expect the arrival of the 4th from the big flock of birds soon,” he tweeted.
Rory Sullivan25 January 2022 20:10
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