The Kremlin warned Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s threats of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine destabilize European security.
“All these statements can contribute to the destabilization of the situation,” Interfax quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters.
“We believe that they don’t contribute in any way to defusing tensions that have now arisen in Europe,” Peskov said.
Biden on Wednesday threatened a host of “severe economic consequences” for Moscow in case of military action in Ukraine, including blocking Russian banks’ access to the U.S. dollar.
The threat is potentially the most serious concrete sanctions proposal that the West has put on the table as it steps up efforts to deter Russia from taking military action against Ukraine.
Peskov added that further telephone talks between Putin and Biden would be possible as soon as the U.S. and NATO provide written responses to Russia’s list of demands for security guarantees.
“After the situation with America’s response clears up, there will already be an understanding at what stage the presidents will decide to join and continue dialogue,” Putin’s spokesman said.
Moscow has voiced growing impatience with the lack of formal answers to its demands, which include banning Ukraine from ever joining NATO and the Western military bloc pulling its forces out of eastern Europe.
Washington and NATO have called these demands “non-starters” and have instead called for negotiations on issues like arms control and limiting military exercises in the region.