The call between the US president, the prime minister and NATO allies France, Italy and Germany was to follow Mr Biden’s talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier in the day. Mr Biden held a two-hour video call with President Putin as tens of thousands of Russian troops massed along the Ukrainian border.
“Greetings, Mr. President,” Putin said at the start of the call, from his residence in Sochi, Russia‘s Black Sea resort. Russian TV showed the two sharing a friendly greeting, but Mr Biden was to warn that Russia would face economic sanctions if it invaded its neighbour. More than 90,000 Russian troops are believed to be near Ukraine’s borders.
Moscow denies plans to attack the former Soviet satellite state, but wants guarantees that Ukraine will not try to seize areas captured by Russian-backed separatists in 2014. It also warned the West not to cross “red lines” by adding Ukraine to NATO. military alliance.
Much of Russia’s recent military buildup is in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Troops are also gathering near the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
The White House said the five NATO leaders had formed a joint strategy “to impose significant and serious harm on the Russian economy” in the event of an invasion.
On Monday, Mr Johnson said the UK would ‘continue to use all economic and diplomatic tools at its disposal to prevent Russian aggression against Ukraine’. The measures include restrictions on Russian banks converting rubles into foreign currencies.
Foreign Secretary Vicky Ford told MPs that any military incursion would be a “strategic mistake” and that “the costs of an incursion would be catastrophic”. She added: “We support Ukraine and we are considering an extension of purely defensive support to help Ukraine defend itself.
“Putin must defuse now and return to diplomatic channels.”
In a major speech today, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is set to warn Western nations that they face a “battle for freedom” with Russia.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov yesterday warned of a “really bloody massacre” if Russia invaded, saying: “The Russians will also come back to the coffins.”
He added: “If I can advise President Biden, I would like him to make it clear to Mr. Putin that no red lines on the Kremlin side should be here.
“The red line is here in Ukraine and the civilized world will react without hesitation.”