Putin warns Biden not to make ‘huge mistake’ over Ukraine tensions

Ukraine tensions
Image: The White House

Vladimir Putin has warned his US counterpart Joe Biden that imposing new sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine tensions that have been ramping up over the past few months would be a “huge mistake”. In a phone call on Thursday 30 December, Putin said such sanctions could lead to a complete breakdown in communications.

Mr Biden, meanwhile, told Mr Putin that the US and its allies would respond decisively to any invasion of Ukraine. The call, requested by Russia, was the pair’s second such conversation this month and lasted for almost an hour. The discussion is the latest effort to try and diffuse Ukrain tensions after the increase in military presence by Russia at the country’s border.

Ukrainian officials say that more than 100,000 Russian troops have amassed along their shared lines and the build-up has prompted concern in the west. Earlier this month, Biden threatened the Russian president with sanctions “like none he has ever seen” if Ukraine comes under attack.


Russia has strongly denied any plans to invade the country, saying the troops are on exercise and that it is entitled to move its soldiers freely upon its own soil. Although the two sides exchanged warnings during the call, Russian foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters shortly after that Mr Putin was “pleased” with the conversation. He added that it had created a “good backdrop” for future talks, reports the BBC.

A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tone had been “serious and substantive”. “President Biden reiterated that substantive progress in these dialogues can occur only in an environment of de-escalation,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

“He made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” she added. In a holiday message before Thursday’s call, Mr Putin told Mr Biden he was “convinced” the pair could work together based on “mutual respect and consideration of each other’s national interests”.

His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Moscow was “in the mood for a conversation”.

“We believe that only through talks is it possible to solve all the immediate problems that we have in abundance between us,” Mr Peskov added.

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