- The White House has stepped up its diplomatic efforts in Europe this week to put together a joint response in the event of a conflict in eastern Europe.
- President Joe Biden has sought a commitment from the new German government to halt the Nord Stream 2 project if the situation worsens in the region.
- Russia has been amassing troops near the Ukrainian border over the past several weeks which observers fear could be a prelude to an invasion of its southwestern neighbour.
The Biden administration is considering tough measures, including stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project as leverage to deter Russia from invading its southwestern neighbour Ukraine.
According to media reports, President Joe Biden on Tuesday held a video conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the emerging crisis in Eastern Europe.
Russia has been amassing troops near the Ukrainian border over the past several weeks, which observers fear could be a prelude to an invasion of its southwestern democratic neighbour.
The White House has stepped up its diplomatic efforts in Europe this week to put together a joint response in the event of a conflict. More importantly, it is considering options, including halting the multi-billion-dollar Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany and financial sanctions that could render a debilitating blow almost immediately in case Moscow invades Ukraine.
US mulls swift, tough sanctions to deter Russia from invading Ukraine
President Biden has sought a commitment from the new German government to halt the project if the situation worsens in the region, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg requesting anonymity. Meanwhile, the possibility of an invasion early next year remains real.
However, the Russian leader has denied that he intends to start a war.
One of the options discussed with its European allies is to clamp sanctions on Russia with full force, especially targeting its banks and the commodity exports. The plan is to make the consequence of an invasion so painful that it could provide an effective deterrent against Russian aggression.
Meanwhile, several US lawmakers have demanded arming Ukraine adequately to defend its territory. They said the US would be limiting its options with Moscow by not providing adequate weaponry to Ukraine at this time, according to two unnamed sources cited in the report.
Although it hasn't started operating, the Nord Stream 2 project has been a source of tensions between the US and Germany. Some US lawmakers have blamed the administration for not doing enough to stop the project. Germany needs Russian gas to meet its energy needs. For Russia, its natural gas exports to Europe would be a major source of revenue that Moscow can't easily ignore.
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In an agreement in July this year, the German government assured the US to take action if Russia acts forcefully toward Ukraine. The deal also gave Ukraine the status of a transit country for the pipelines passing through its territory. A top European security official said the terms of the July agreement would come into force if an attack against Ukraine does take place. A US official also said that Germany might find ways to slow the project completion if an attack happens.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Tuesday, new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the developments at the Ukraine border serious and said his government would closely monitor the situation.