How does the United States plan to respond?

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Russia’s Red Square in Moscow last year. Mr. Putin is seeking to energize nationalist support at home amid a raging pandemic.Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times: United States
Russia’s Red Square in Moscow last year. Mr. Putin is seeking to energize nationalist support at home amid a raging pandemic.Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

The White House warned on 11 February that Mr Putin could launch a major attack on Ukraine as early as 16 February. Ukraine is closed on three sides with land, sea and air force. Officials acknowledged the possibility that mentioning a specific date could be part of a Russian propaganda effort. Days passed without military action but President Biden said the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remained “very high” and hoped President Vladimir V. Putin will complete it within days.

US officials still do not know whether Mr Putin has decided to attack.

In early December, Mr Biden clarified that his administration was not considering sending troops to fight for Ukraine. Because for other reasons, Ukraine is not a member of the NATO alliance and does not fall within its commitment to collective defense.

Instead, the United States has sent anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine. The US has increased military presence in NATO countries bordering Russia, and placed 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment to Eastern Europe. Administration officials have also warned recently. That the United States could put its weight behind a Ukrainian uprising if Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine.

But the core of Mr Biden’s response is to threaten Mr Putin with “economic consequences like he has never seen”. While keeping diplomatic channels open and trying to corrupt all NATO allies behind a unified policy.

The most severe economic blow to the United States would be the separation of Russia from the international banking system. Mr Biden has said Russia’s invasion of a prized Moscow project, the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 to spur natural gas exports to Europe, would cause death.

Officials say the administration will try to confiscate the personal assets of Mr. Putin and his aides, and that it could impose sanctions on those. Which could deprive the Russians of their beloved next-generation phones, laptops, and an army of other gadgets and advanced equipment.

In response to Russia’s demands, US officials have offered measures such as greater transparency in military exercises, negotiating nuclear arms control. Which their Russian counterparts have called meaningful. but not central. European leaders are holding talks with Moscow. However, the details are being closely monitored.

An intense conflict in Ukraine will test the Biden administration’s resolve. Which is working to restore confidence in America’s global leadership after its recent messy withdrawal from Afghanistan and its layoffs from foreign engagements under Mr. Trump. who declared NATO “obsolete”.

The escalating conflict with Russia has also jeopardized the recent efforts of the United States to shift NATO’s attention to the security challenge posed by China.

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