Not going to stop him? BBCs Maitlis has US diplomat squirming over Bidens Russia plan

Biden doesn’t have ‘desire’ for conflict with Russia says expert

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Joe Biden spoke with leaders from, Italy, Germany, France, and Britain on Monday ahead of his call with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The Biden Administration have said the US President will warn Putin about the risks of invading Ukraine, due to the CIA director describing high numbers of Russian troops along the border. BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis questioned Ex-US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker about military forces and possible conflict in Eastern Europe.

Ms Maitlis said: “Let me get this straight, but Joe Biden is not offering to stop Russian military by putting boots on the ground there himself, right?”

Mr Volker said: “No he is not and I think that is what Putin is really trying to feel.

“How serious, how strong is Biden about this, would the US provide military forces or not, what other consequences could there be.”

The US diplomat added: “But I think from an American perspective and frankly from most of our allies as well.” 

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“They would draw the line at committing to defend existing NATO allies in Poland including the Baltic states.”

Mr Volker added: “And supporting Ukraine but not a desire to get into a direct military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.”

Last week, the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg warned NATO members to prepare for the worst with Ukraine and Russia.

Jens Stoltenberg said: “You can discuss whether the likelihood for an incursion is 20 percent or 80 percent, it doesn’t matter. We need to be prepared for the worst.

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“There is no certainty, no clarity about exactly what are the Russian intentions, and they may actually evolve and change.

“We need to convey a message to Russia that they should not conduct a military incursion into Ukraine.”

He added: “They have done it before. They continue to support the separatists in Donbass and we should deter, send the message.

Discussing Joe Biden’s planned call with Putin on Monday a Downing Street spokesman said: “The leaders agreed that recent meetings of the G20 and of NATO foreign ministers had been useful forums for discussions on this issue.

“They emphasised the need to provide a united front in the face of Russian threats and hostility.”

The official added: “The leaders called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and reaffirmed their staunch support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“We believe there is a way forward to allow us to send a clear message to Russia that there will be enduring and meaningful costs should an invasion take place.”

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