Brussels (Brussels Morning) NATO allies are coordinating their response to the Russian military build-up near Ukraine, with US President Joe Biden having warned Moscow against aggression.
Before and after Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their virtual meeting, the US President spoke with his counterparts in France, Germany, Italy and the UK, DW reported.
Speaking ahead of the virtual meeting, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed out that the US was preparing sanctions against Russia in case Moscow decides to attack Ukraine again.
Noting that the US has “a path forward that would impose significant and severe harm on the Russian economy”, she said “you can call that a threat, you can call that a fact, you can call that preparation — whatever you want to call it.”
Before the meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU is prepared to respond to “any further aggression, including breaches of international law or any other malicious actions taken against us or our neighbours, including Ukraine.”
Nord Stream on the table
David Stulik, head of the European Values Centre for Security Policy and a former EU diplomat in Ukraine, pointed out that the recent inclusion of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in the NATO response amounted to “a game changer.”
“This is a defeat for Russians because they really counted that they will be able to deliver gas through Nord Stream 2 already this winter,” he noted, adding that Moscow would now be “forced to kind of use the Ukrainian gas transport system.”
While Nord Stream 2 has been completed, it is not yet in use because the German regulatory body has ordered that the parent company must transfer its assets from Switzerland to Germany before it can give final approval for use of the pipeline.
Former US Department of State and White House official Heather Hurlburt pointed out that the EU “has clearly decided to pull up its socks and taken away some of the space for manoeuvre that Putin was really enjoying.”Earlier this week, leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US stressed the importance of protecting Ukraine’s sovereignty from Russia.