How will Biden react to Russian armored vehicles in the Donbass today? It all depends on military developments

The American president took a few hours before deciding how to react: he wants to see how far Putin’s tanks will go

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
WASHINGTON expected today for Joe Biden’s true response to the invasion of Donbass ordered by Vladimir Putin. Yesterday the American president signed an executive order to impose the first sanctions on the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. But a provision of symbolic fact. Economic relations with the two breakaway regions will be prohibited for American citizens and businesses. The impact for the Donbass is insignificant: since 2014 that territory depends entirely on Russia.

Now, instead, the time has come for the first test for Biden and for the Europeans. In recent weeks, the White House has consistently reiterated that sanctions would be applied in the event of a further invasion of Ukraine. Everyone understood that the formula also included the encroachment of the Russians in the Donbass. Is it still like this? Last night one of the White House advisors held a conference call and, for one thing, said that today, Tuesday 22 February, Biden announced a further round of sanctions. He did not explain what the measures will be and whether they will be taken in coordination with the European allies.

It is clear that in a background phone call one could not anticipate a possible speech by the President or the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken or by the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan. However, the messages conveyed to the reporters are interesting. Biden will take a few hours before deciding how to react: he wants to see how far Putin’s tanks will go. This confirms Washington’s flexible approach to sanctions. No immediate storm, but a series of waves commensurate with the Russian offensives. On the other hand, this is the only method that allows us to keep the front compact with the Europeans. Biden’s adviser then insisted on one point: We always take into account that the Russians have been in the Donbass since 2014. How to say: we cannot speak of a true invasion.

Of course there is the violation of the Minsk agreements, also signed by the Russians and which provide for the return of all borders to Kiev., in exchange for a large autonomy for Donetsk and Lugansk. At this moment, however, the Biden administration wants to understand if there really are no alternatives to the conflict. Not surprisingly, yesterday, the president organized a simultaneous call with Frenchman Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz. The conversation lasted 30 minutes. We will see if the attempt by the two European leaders to hook Putin at the last minute continues. Of course, it all depends on military developments on the ground. Immediately after, Biden informed the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenksy.


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