Officials from the U.S. and Russia have agreed to meet on January 10 to discuss security issues as Russian troops appear poised to invade Ukraine, the White House announced Monday.
The meeting, confirmed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday, will precede a second meeting between Russia and NATO representatives on Jan. 12. The U.S. and other European countries will also hold a third meeting with Russian representatives on Jan. 13, Reuters reported. (RELATED: US Issues Threat To European Country Warning About War)
Neither the U.S. nor Russia have formally announced which officials will be attending the meetings.
Russia has had tens of thousands of troops amassed on its border with Ukraine for weeks. The buildup mirrors Russia’s actions prior to invading Ukraine in 2014.
President Joe Biden has already stated that a sending U.S. troops to defend Afghanistan is “not on the table.” The U.S. and its allies have instead threatened widespread economic consequences should Russia move forward with an invasion.
“We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article 5, it’s a sacred obligation,” Biden said in early December. “That obligation does not extend to NATO – I mean to Ukraine. But it would depend upon what rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well. But the idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not on, in the cards right now. What will happen is there will be severe consequences.”
Republicans have been heavily critical of Biden’s handling of Ukraine, arguing that the president is being too lenient with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“‘Speak loudly and carry a small stick’ is a weak game plan,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse told the Daily Caller as Russia’s presence ramped up Dec. 7. “Biden has given Putin the upper hand at almost every turn: letting Russia dictate reciprocal diplomatic representation, waiving sanctions on NordStream 2, and turning the page from Paul Whelan and Alexei Navalny’s unjust imprisonment.”
Sen. Ted Cruz: “The Russian troops on the Ukrainian border are Joe Biden’s fault. And they are Senate Democrats fault for being unwilling to stand up to a president of their own party” and sanction Nord Stream 2. pic.twitter.com/E65zJ9TKP7
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 7, 2021
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also took to the Senate floor Dec. 7 and blamed Biden and Democrats entirely for the deteriorating security of Ukraine, arguing their hawkishness on Russia vanished when Trump left office.