Biden says threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine is ‘very high’
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Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, states that the “impending” war in Ukraine exposes not just the “shameful appeasement mindset” of European ruling elites but also illustrates the “tragic” decline of US leadership on the world stage. He said: “It is no coincidence that Vladimir Putin has mobilised more than 150,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders while Joe Biden is in the White House.
“Clearly, Mr Putin views Biden as a pushover, a weak-kneed president obsessed with his sinking domestic agenda while Rome burns across the Atlantic.”
Mr Gardiner describes Mr Biden’s foreign policy as reactive, responding to a possible Russian invasion instead of preventing one and relying on multilateral diplomacy rather than projecting US might.
He adds that in contrast to Donald Trump, who he says was prepared to use military force against Russian interests in Syria and campaigned against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany, Mr Biden’s foreign policy has been “predictable and distinctly lacking in bite”.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Gardiner comments: “Biden’s refusal to take real action against Nord Stream 2 was a huge strategic win for the Kremlin, and a significant factor emboldening the Russians over Ukraine.”
He went on to state that the “disastrous” US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August had also convinced the Kremlin the US “no longer had the stomach to fight”.
Mr Gardiner claims: “Joe Biden has shown himself to be a president of limited ability, short-sighted vision, and extraordinarily bad judgement.
“Instead of heading to Europe this week to rally America’s allies to stand up to the Russian bear, he is entrenched in Washington, surrounded by sinking poll numbers and tied to a failed left-wing political project at home.
He concludes: “These are dangerous times for the free world. A world without America at the helm is unthinkable. But that is the direction the Biden presidency is taking us in.”
The comments come as EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced the bloc will not impose sanctions on Russia just yet, rebuffing a call from Kiev to take such steps now to avert a war rather than wait until after any possible invasion.
Countries in the West fear a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine is a prelude to an invasion, which Moscow denies.
The US and European allies have said any attack would trigger “massive” sanctions against Moscow, but Kiev wants them imposed now.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in Brussels: “We expect decisions. We believe that there are good and legitimate reasons to impose at least some of the sanctions now to demonstrate that the European Union is not only talking the talk about sanctions, but is also walking the walk.”
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Mr Borrell, along with some foreign ministers, made clear the bloc did not plan to impose sanctions on Russia yet. He told reporters he would convene an extraordinary EU meeting to agree sanctions only when the moment comes.
On Monday it emerged that Mr Biden has agreed during last-ditch diplomatic efforts to meet his Russian counterpart on condition Moscow does not invade Europe’s second largest country.
Moscow said on Monday that Mr Putin and his US counterpart could set up a call or meeting any time, but there were no concrete plans yet for a summit.
The prospect of talks did little to dampen fears an attack was imminent with the White House saying the Kremlin was continuing to prepare a full-scale assault on Ukraine “very soon.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears “highly likely” despite Mr Biden and Mr Putin tentatively agreeing to meet.
Russia and its ally Belarus announced they are extending war games on Belarusian territory. It would offer a convenient staging post on Ukrainian capital Kiev which is less than 50 miles south of the border with Belarus.
Heavy shelling in Ukraine continued on Monday amid heightened tensions between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatist rebels in the Donbas region.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other Western allies have suggested the shelling was part of a false flag attempt by the Kremlin to stage a pretext to attack.
Ukrainian authorities said on Monday they had seen online warnings hackers were preparing to launch major attacks on government agencies, banks and the defence sector on Tuesday.
Kiev has previously accused Russia of launching cyber attacks to sow panic and crash its financial system.
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