US President Joe Biden and several European country leaders, including Germany and France, have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity during a videoconference on Monday, January 24, and threatened that Russia will be met with a severe consequence if it invades Ukraine.
All the leaders “agree that it’s up to Russia to undertake visible de-escalation initiatives,” according to the spokesman for German chancellor Olaf Scholz, at the end of this meeting, in which the latter participated in particular with the leaders of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Poland.
The White House announced the virtual meeting earlier in the day, at a time when certain differences appear to be emerging within the Western side on how to approach Russia to be cautious about dealing with Ukraine.
President Biden stated on Monday that there is complete agreement with European leaders on the Ukrainian crisis. On the sidelines of a meeting devoted to competition issues, the US president said it was a “very, very, very good interview.”
In addition, the United States is said to have activated up to 8,500 soldiers on alert. According to the Pentagon, this means they could be ready in five days to reinforce the military alliance’s 40,000-strong Rapid Reaction Force.
All eyes were on Berlin, which had been initially slammed by Ukraine for refusing to deliver weapons, even defensive ones, in contrast to the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Baltic countries.
Similarly, the European Union countries have not yet ordered the withdrawal of a portion of their diplomatic personnel from Ukraine, despite announcements from Washington and London to that effect.
According to a press release from Berlin, Western leaders expressed “great concern” at the regrouping of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and accused Moscow of being at the root of the “current tensions” during their videoconference, which was also attended by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
They believed that “the issue of European security and stability could be resolved through negotiation.” They “reaffirmed their willingness to continue diplomatic efforts in this direction,” which began in January with a series of meetings between Western and Russian officials.