Biden told Putin that Ukraine invasion would lead to ‘widespread human suffering’

US ready for diplomacy, but along with its allies is ‘equally prepared for other scenarios,’ says US president

US President Joe Biden told his Russian counterpart on Saturday that an invasion of Ukraine would lead to “widespread human suffering,” said the White House in a statement.

The remarks came in a one-hour phone call with Vladimir Putin amid an escalating Russian military buildup on the borders of Ukraine. The US said Friday that the buildup means Russia could invade its western neighbor “at any time.”

“President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing,” said the White House in a statement, referring to Russia’s previous invasion, the illegal 2014 takeover of the Crimean Peninsula.

Biden also reiterated that Washington and its allies and partners will respond “decisively and impose swift and severe costs” on Moscow if it again invades Ukraine.

“President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios,” the statement added.

Earlier in the day, the US State Department ordered the departure of most US employees from its embassy in the capital Kyiv, citing “the continued threat of Russian military action.”

The Pentagon also pulled 160 military trainers out of Ukraine and relocated them elsewhere in Europe, said spokesman John Kirby.

Ukraine has been plagued by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014, following Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea, which Turkiye and the UN General Assembly have both condemned as illegal.

Moscow recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Russia has denied it is preparing to invade and accused Western countries of undermining its security by NATO’s expansion toward its borders.

The Kremlin also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia would not join NATO.

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