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24 Feb, 2022 22:02

‘Complete rupture’ in US-Russia relations – Biden

The US president commented on ties with Moscow after refusing to sanction Putin over the military operation in Ukraine
‘Complete rupture’ in US-Russia relations – Biden

Asked about the potential for another Cold War, US President Joe Biden on Thursday said there is a “complete rupture” in American-Russian relations, adding that it could get even worse depending on developments in Ukraine.

“There is a complete rupture right now in US-Russian relations if they continue on this path that they are on,” Biden said. 

As for whether another Cold War could potentially ensue, Biden said, “that depends.”

“You have the vast majority of the rest of the world in total opposition to what [Putin] is doing,” the president said, adding, “It’s going to be a cold day for Russia.”

Biden announced a second round of economic sanctions on Russia hours after President Vladimir Putin revealed that the Russian military was moving into Ukraine to “demilitarize and denazify” the country. The sanctions in response are a mix of measures targeting individuals and Russia’s financial institutions. Biden declined to say why he would not personally sanction Putin, but said it is “on the table” for when the administration reassesses the measures and their effectiveness over the next month. 

The president was also questioned on Thursday about why he did not go further with the sanctions and cut Russia from the SWIFT payment system, which connects numerous banks across the world and could have a noticeably negative effect on the country’s economy. Biden responded by claiming that the newest economic sanctions “exceed” removing Russia from SWIFT. He added that this option remains on the table, but it is not a position that “the rest of Europe wishes to take.”

In addition to the sanctions, 7,000 US troops are being deployed to Germany to defend NATO territory and provide support, but the president insisted US troops will not be fighting in Ukraine.

Another sign of trouble in US-Russia relations emerged on Thursday when Minister Counselor Sergey Trepelkov, the number-two Russian diplomat in Washington, was expelled, a senior State Department official told the Associated Press.

The expulsion is unrelated to the ongoing Ukraine conflict, according to officials, and was likely in response to Moscow expelling US Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman earlier this month, which the anonymous official referred to as “unprovoked,” while the Kremlin linked it to the tit-for-tat diplomatic row that has been going for at least eight years now. The expulsions and staffing disagreements between DC and Moscow have been escalating ever since Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in the March 2014 referendum – the event that the US insists was an “annexation.”