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Russia threatens US with ‘dangerous consequences’

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
December 09, 2021

Russia warned the U.S. of “dangerous consequences” on Wednesday amid Russia’s military buildup and growing concerns from the U.S. and NATO countries.

On Wednesday, Russia sent a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow “warning about the dangerous consequences” the U.S. would incur if it continued military flights and naval ship activity near Russia’s borders, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. She called the U.S. actions “provocations near Russia’s borders.”

“Reserving the right to respond to the corresponding challenges posed by the United States and NATO members, we call for a substantive dialogue on security guarantees and a discussion of pathways to reduce military and political tensions and to prevent dangerous incidents in the air and at sea. Otherwise, all the means at our disposal will be used to prevent and neutralise emerging threats,” Zakharova added.

Russia’s threat came a day after President Joe Biden held a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and threatened the U.S. would respond with “strong economic and other measures” if Russia takes military actions against Ukraine.

A White House press release of the call said Biden “voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine” and warned the U.S and its allies would work together to bring “strong economic and other measures” against Russia.

Biden also “reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.”

On Wednesday, Biden told reporters directly of the call, “I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences — severe consequences — and economic consequences like none he’s ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed.”

However, military action may not be among the consequences Biden is considering toward Russia.

Biden told reporters Wednesday that putting U.S. troops on the ground was “not on the table.”

“The idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not on — in the cards right now,” Biden reiterated.

Some U.S. National Guard troops are already on the ground in Ukraine, but they’ve been serving only in an allied partnership capacity to support and train Ukrainian troops.

In a White House press briefing on Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan would not say whether U.S. troops would deploy to Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack, but said additional troops could be sent to neighboring NATO countries, such as Poland and Romania.

Sullivan said Biden also told Putin the U.S. would also provide additional defensive material to Ukraine “beyond that which we are already providing” and the U.S. would “fortify our NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such escalation.”

Around 100,000 Russian troops have gathered near the Ukrainian border in recent weeks. Blinken recently said Russia may be trying to “rehash” its 2014 invasion of Ukrainian territory when it annexed Crimea from Ukrainian control. Blinken also said the U.S. is seeing signs of Russian “plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine.”

Last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. would consult with its international allies and partners before responding to any acts of aggression Russia may carry out against Ukraine.