US President Joe Biden on the crisis between Ukraine and Russia. “Tremendous penalties are in place, but a chance remains”
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
WASHINGTON – Joe Biden announces: “I have solid intelligence information to believe that Vladimir Putin has already made the decision to invade Ukraine, but the road to diplomacy is still open.” The American president presented himself yesterday afternoon once again in front of the cameras and with a short speech accuses the Russian leader of pushing Europe towards war. Biden’s words confirm the gloomy predictions of a devastating advance: “the Russians want to attack Kiev, the capital of Ukraine”. The offensive is expected at any moment. The West’s response, says Biden, will be united and compact: “The United States and its allies will support Ukraine and impose tremendous sanctions on Russia.” Biden added: “I want to tell the Russians that the attempt to divide us doesn’t work. America and her partners are united ”. The Kremlin, on the other hand, “follows the old script” of disinformation.
From Washington’s point of view, the path of diplomacy appears ever narrower. Biden confirmed that Secretary Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Appointment set for Wednesday 23 February. But no one can predict what will happen between now and then. Not even the president of the United States who concluded: “It is up to Putin to decide, if he does not stop, he means that he has slammed the door of dialogue”.
The White House tries to keep abreast of rapid developments on the ground. Biden held another conference call with NATO allies, including Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Mario Draghi, as well as EU leaders and leaders of Poland, Romania, Canada. The American president shared the latest intelligence information. The indications of the American secret services coincide with those collected by the NATO command in Europe: Putin is looking for a pretext to attack Ukraine. Incidentally, Biden said he holds the Kremlin accountableand the heavy cyber attacks on Tuesday 15 February against Ukrainian army servers and two Ukrainian public banks. After that, the president of the United States urged the partners to remain united. Draghi then commented: «NATO is united, without nuances. The sanctions must be effective but sustainable for Italy ».
Vice president Kamala Harris is also on the field, who yesterday made her debut on the public scene of the crisis, attending the first session of the Security Conference in Munich, Germany. Biden’s number two first took stock with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg. Then he met the presidents of Latvia, Egils Levits, and of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, as well as the premier of Estonia, Kaja Kallas. The three leaders of the Baltic countries are calling for a greater presence of American military. And this is a first effect of Putin’s offensive. US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, on a mission to Brussels, is also receiving similar requests from countries on NATO’s east flank, after announcing the dispatch of 250 tanks to Poland. Blinken, also in Munich, saw the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock. Speaking from the podium, Baerbock made it clear that Germany will block the ‘North Stream 2’ pipeline if ‘necessary’. Harris herself will return to the subject today with Chancellor Scholz. For the Americans, the network of pipes that directly connects Germany and Russia, which is not yet in operation, must be the first objective of the sanctions.
At the same time, as Daleep Singh, adviser for the international economy said, punitive measures will be adopted so strong as to “transform Russia into a pariah of the international community”. Moscow “will be isolated on the financial markets; all technological supplies will be blocked “Singh added. Wall Street closes lower for the second consecutive week.