AP

Biden threatens: No gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine

Feb 7, 2022, 6:47 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:40 pm
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a joint news conference w...
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022 in Washington, DC. This marks the first official visit to Washington for Scholz as he is expected to be pressed on Germany's stance on sanctions against Russia should they invade Ukraine. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a flurry of diplomacy across two continents, President Joe Biden met with Germany’s new leader Monday and vowed the crucial Nord Stream 2 Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline will be blocked if Russia further invades Ukraine. Russia’s Vladimir Putin retorted that the U.S. and its allies are the only ones talking invasion.

Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron met for more than five hours in Moscow at the same time Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke at the White House in efforts to defuse the crisis before armed conflict breaks out. Russia has massed thousands of troops at the Ukraine border, adding military might almost daily.

The White House has expressed increasing alarm about the prospects of war, and Biden has been looking to solidify support among European allies for economy-jarring sanctions against Russia if it attacks.

“If Russia invades, that means tanks and troops crossing the border of Ukraine again, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” Biden said. “We will bring an end to it.”

That would hurt Russia economically but also cause supply problems for Germany. Construction of the pipeline has been completed, but it is not yet operating.

“We are jointly ready, and all of NATO is ready,” Biden said, referring to the powerful Western alliance, though Ukraine is not a member.

While Biden reiterated with certitude that the pipeline would not move forward, Scholz stressed the need to keep some ambiguity about sanctions in order to press Russia to de-escalate the crisis.

“It’s necessary for Russia to understand that a lot more could happen than they’ve perhaps calculated with themselves,.” Scholz said.

The buildup of over 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fueled Western worries of a possible offensive. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day,” triggering a conflict that would come at an “enormous human cost.”

At the same time, Biden and NATO allies have made clear there are no plans for sending in troops to fight Russia on Ukraine’s behalf.

Macron and Putin, during their lengthy meeting — with a dinner that featured the choice of sturgeon or reindeer with sweet potatoes and pear pie with vanilla ice cream — registered their disagreements but also emphasized a need for more talks.

Putin noted that the U.S. and NATO have ignored Moscow’s demands that the alliance guarantee it will keep Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations out, that they refrain from placing weapons in Ukraine and roll back alliance forces from Eastern Europe.

He, too, signaled his readiness to continue negotiations and denied anew that Russia has any intention of invading Ukraine.

“We are categorically against any further NATO’s expansion eastward because it poses a threat to us,” Putin said. “It’s not us who’s advancing to NATO, it’s NATO coming to us and so it’s illogical to talk about Russia’s aggressive behavior.”

He scoffed at Western descriptions of NATO as a defensive alliance, saying sarcastically that “people of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have learned it from their own experience.” And he threatened a wider war if Ukraine should join the alliance and perhaps try to win back Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

“European countries will automatically be drawn into a military conflict with Russia,” Putin said. “You will be drawn into that conflict beyond your will. There will be no winners.”

Macron described the talks as “substantial, deep” with a focus on conditions that could help de-escalation.

“We tried to build converging elements,” he said. “The upcoming days will be crucial and deep discussions together will be needed.”

In the meantime, Biden warned, “it would be wise” for Americans other than essential diplomats to leave Ukraine.

On a positive note, Putin said without elaboration that some of Macron’s proposals could serve as a basis for a settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, adding that they agreed to have a call after Macron’s visit to Kyiv Tuesday.

Likewise, Biden said when asked if there remained an “offramp” for Russia in the standoff: “The answer is yes.”

Before meeting Biden, Scholz told German media that “there will be a very high price if Ukraine is attacked militarily. And we are preparing for this very precisely and have been talking about the details for a long time.” Scholz will travel to Kyiv and Moscow Feb. 14-15..

Separately German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said her country would add up to 350 troops within a few days to about 500 already a part of a NATO battlegroup in Lithuania. “With this, we are strengthening our contribution to forces on NATO’s eastern flank and sending a very clear signal of unity to our allies,” she said.

Biden already has deployed additional U.S. troops to Poland, Romania and Germany, and a few dozen elite U.S troops and equipment landed Sunday in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, with hundreds more infantry troops of the 82nd Airborne Division set to arrive.

Britain said the U.S. was sending 350 troops to Poland to bolster NATO forces, joining 100 Royal Engineers already there.

At a news conference in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell defended the increasingly dire Western warnings that a Russian invasion may be imminent.

“This is not alarmism. This is simply the facts,” Blinken said. “And the facts are that we’ve seen over the last few months a massive amassing of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders.”

Borrell noted that “140,000 troops massed on the border is not to go to have tea.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is weighing a more permanent military presence in southeast Europe in response to Russia’s “massive military deployment” near Ukraine.

“We are considering more longer-term adjustments to our posture, our presence in the eastern part of the alliance,” Stoltenberg said after talks in Brussels with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “If Russia really wants less NATO close to the borders, they get the opposite.”

Stoltenberg gave no details and said no final decision has been made, but the move could mirror NATO’s long-term military presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, where about 5,000 troops are stationed. It would see a similar force based in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

The aim would be only to bolster the defenses of NATO allies in the region. The troops would not cross into Ukraine should Russia invade.

Biden and Scholz also discussed contingency plans for providing gas supplies to Europe should Russia cut off supply to Europe. Europe is already dealing with liquefied natural gas supplies being sapped by a cold winter last year, a summer with little renewable energy generation and Russia delivering less than usual.
Biden asserted the U.S. and other countries could make up a “significant portion” of supplies lost should Russia move to cut off Europe.

But energy experts say replacing Russian gas would be complicated and can’t be done overnight. Export terminals cost billions of dollars to build and are working at capacity in the U.S.
__

Associated Press writers Corbet and Isachenkov reported from Moscow. Matthew Lee, Colleen Long and Zeke Miller in Washington, Lorne Cook in Brussels, Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Ukraine, Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans in Berlin and Jill Lawless in London contributed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

AP

Powerball's second-largest jackpot — an estimated $1.2 billion — is up for grabs Wednesday. (Ke...
Associated Press

Lucky player in Seattle suburb wins $754.6M Powerball prize

Washington state lottery officials say a single winning ticket for a $754.6 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a department store in a Seattle suburb.
15 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Cong...
Associated Press

Biden aims to deliver reassurance in State of Union address

President Joe Biden is ready to offer a reassuring assessment of the nation's condition rather than roll out flashy policy proposals as he delivers his second State of the Union address.
2 days ago
In this handout photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nathan Lee Chasing ...
Rio Yamat, Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in Nevada sex abuse case

Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors.
2 days ago
police tape outside of a Virginia elementary school...
Denise Lavoie and Ben Finley, Associated Press

Boy who shot teacher allegedly tried to choke another

An attorney for a teacher who was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old Virginia boy says in a legal notice that the first-grader constantly cursed at staff and teachers, chased students around and tried to whip them with his belt and once choked another teacher “until she couldn’t breathe.”
2 days ago
...
Associated Press

Jazz owner aims to showcase Utah, SLC with NBA All-Star Game

When the NBA All-Star game returns to Salt Lake City for the first time in three decades, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith anticipates the event will help build Utah into a destination for other major sporting events.
2 days ago
Men search for people among the debris in a destroyed building in Adana, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 6, 20...
Associated Press

Survivors scream as desperate rescuers work in Turkey, Syria

Rescue workers and civilians passed chunks of concrete and household goods across mountains of wreckage early Monday, moving tons of wreckage by hand in a desperate search for survivors trapped by a devastating earthquake.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Biden threatens: No gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine