Home POLITICS Johnson & Biden confer with EU leaders over Russia sanctions as Ukraine prepares for invasion

Johnson & Biden confer with EU leaders over Russia sanctions as Ukraine prepares for invasion

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden consulted on Monday night with the leaders of Germany, France and Italy to agree on a package of sanctions against Russia should Vladimir Putin launch his troops into Ukraine.

Discussions reportedly centred on developing a joint strategy “to impose significant and severe harm on the Russian economy” before Biden’s high-stakes phone call with President Putin on Tuesday.

Measures being considered include cutting off Russia from the international financial settlement system, and restrictions on banks similar to those that crippled the Iranian economy over nuclear non-compliance.

Biden has also suggested deploying “additional forces and capabilities” to eastern Europe in response to any incursion. However, officials made it clear that the president would not threaten a direct US military response.

The current crisis comes against a background of political uncertainty in Europe. A UK President showing clear signs of senility, a change of government in Germany, a weakened and beleaguered Macron facing elections in 2022, and an inconsistent and seemingly confused Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street may provide Putin with a window of opportunity. Meanwhile, Ukraine is being run by a stand-up comedian.

Satellite images showed a build-up of Russian troops or near the border with Ukraine that could reach 175,000, according to US security analysts, as Russian forces are also reported to be languishing in Belarus along that country’s borders with Ukraine.

The conference call had been requested by the US, Downing Street said. A spokesman said afterwards that Johnson and Biden had “emphasised the need to provide a united front in the face of Russian threats and hostility,” adding: “The prime minister said the UK would continue to use all the economic and diplomatic tools at its disposal to prevent any Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

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