By Aaron Humes:The BBC reports that despite Russia’s denials that its troops on the Ukrainian border are a threat to invade, the Group of 7 democracies has warned of “massive consequences” for any such invasion.
President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Joe Biden during their video call last week that Russian troops did not pose a threat to anyone, Russian media report.
Putin added that he had no particular grounds for optimism after speaking to Mr. Biden, but would like to meet him in person, local media quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying. Russia and the US continue to have serious conceptual differences, he added.
Ukrainian authorities have said Moscow could be planning a military offensive at the end of January, although U.S. officials say it is not yet clear whether Mr. Putin has made a decision.
Biden said he had made it clear to Putin that there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen” if he invaded Ukraine. On Sunday the G7 echoed that, saying: “Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response.”
The G7 called on Russia to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities.”
Ukraine shares borders with both the EU and Russia, but as a former Soviet republic, it has deep social and cultural ties with Russia. However, Russia has accused Ukraine of provocation and sought guarantees against eastward NATO expansion and deployment of weapons close to its border.