Biden has turned down his National Security Council’s proposals to impose more sanctions on Russia three times this year, arguing that the measures were “not tough enough,” Politico reported, citing two unnamed former US officials.
At the same time, the magazine said some US foreign policy officials have grown frustrated with Biden’s overall approach to Russia, which they deem “too soft and too cautious.”
US State Secretary Antony Blinken voiced concern last week that Russia may be considering invading Ukraine, but later admitted that analysts in Washington “don’t have clarity into Moscow’s intention.” Media reports said the US related its concerns to its EU allies.
Blinken told Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in a phone call that Belarus has been using the refugee crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border “to distract from Russia’s activities on the border with Ukraine.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, dismissed the rumors of a potential Russian invasion as a baseless stoking of tensions. “Russia doesn’t pose a threat to anyone,” he said.
Peskov said a previous story by Politico that claimed Russia was amassing troops near the border with Ukraine was “low-quality rubbish.” The satellite images published in Politico showed Russian military hardware near the border with Belarus, not Ukraine, he said.
The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, rejected the report about the supposed buildup of Russian troops as “deliberate disinformation.”
The US first imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014, after Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, and later introduced more restrictions over the alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
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