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Will make any Russian invasion of Ukraine very difficult: US President Joe Biden

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US President Joe Biden said he is putting together “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 any invasion of Ukraine, which warned that a massive attack could be planned next month. .

Washington and Kiev say Moscow has mobilized troops near Ukraine’s borders and accuses Russia of planning an invasion.

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

Biden told reporters in Washington that he is “putting together the most comprehensive and meaningful initiatives, so that it is very difficult for Mr. Putin to move forward and do what people are concerned that he may.”

Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since backed separatists fighting Kiev in the country’s east. More than 13,000 people have died in the conflict.

“The most likely time to reach readiness to escalate would be at the end of January,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksey Reznikov told parliament in Kiev on Friday.

A report in the Washington Post on Friday citing US officials and an intelligence document said Russia was planning a multi-front attack involving 175,000 troops as soon as next year.

Reznikov said a “winter training period” has begun in Russia and that Moscow has already started exercises near Ukrainian territory.

He estimated that Russia had about 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. Russia denies any military build-up.

“This is our land”

Government troops stationed on the front lines in eastern Ukraine said they were prepared to thwart any Russian attack.

“Our task is simple: don’t let the enemy enter our country,” a 29-year-old soldier named Andrey told AFP, smoking in a ditch near the border town of Svitlodarsk.

Yevgen, another 24-year-old soldier, said, “All our men are ready to hold them back. This is our land, we will defend it to the end.”

Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters that a date for the Putin-Biden video summit has been agreed but will not be announced until the final details of the talks are also determined. .

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

Asked if he spoke to Putin on Friday morning, Biden shouted “no” as he exited a news conference in Washington.

He gave no further details about his planned “initiative” on Ukraine.

Putin has warned the West and Kiev against conducting military exercises in Ukraine and crossing the Kremlin’s “red line” on weapons manufacturing.

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

Tensions remain high despite increased contact between the two rivals since Putin and Biden met for the first time at a summit in Geneva in June.

As well as the Ukraine conflict, Russia and the United States continue to debate cyberattacks and the staff of their embassies, following several waves of diplomatic expulsions.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba told AFP on Friday that he rejects any attempt to sabotage his plan to join NATO.

After joining much of Eastern Europe’s coalition following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow wants to see the end of NATO’s eastward expansion.

Kuleba said on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting in Stockholm that agreeing to abandon his plan to join the coalition was “not an option.”

“I reject the idea that we have to 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 then.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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