Biden to hold call with Putin amid fears of Ukraine invasion – live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Biden to hold call with Putin amid fears of Ukraine invasion – live” was written by Joan E Greve in Washington, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th December 2021 15.24 UTC

Meadows will stop cooperating with Capitol attack committee – reports

Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff to Donald Trump, reportedly plans to stop cooperating with the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.

Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, told Fox News, “We have made efforts over many weeks to reach an accommodation with the committee.”

Terwilliger claimed that Meadows was willing to appear before the committee and discuss matter that are not protected by executive privilege.

However, the panel’s leaders have indicated they wished to discuss issues where Donald Trump has attempted to claim executive privilege, after the lawmakers dismissed the legitimacy of the former president’s claims.

Meadows is expected to appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show tonight to discuss his decision.

Updated

The Biden administration is reportedly preparing for a potential evacuation of US citizens from Ukraine if Russia invades the country.

CNN reports:

The contingency planning is being led by the Pentagon, [half a dozen] sources said, and comes as the administration briefs Congress on how the US is preparing. In a ‘gloomy’ briefing to senators by senior State Department official Victoria Nuland on Monday night, Nuland outlined the tough sanctions package being prepared by the administration in response to a potential Russian attack, but acknowledged that the US’ options to deter an invasion are fairly limited, a person familiar with the briefing said.

It is still unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade, US officials stressed. But he has amassed enough forces, equipment and supplies near Ukraine’s borders that he could move to attack on very short notice.

Biden and Putin are scheduled to hold a virtual call starting in about five minutes, and that conversation may inform the Pentagon’s preparations for a potential evacuation. Stay tuned.

Before his virtual summit with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden made a trip this morning to the World War II Memorial in Washington.

The president and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, laid a wreath at the memorial to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden visit the World War II Memorial on 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
Joe Biden and Jill Biden visit the World War II Memorial on 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

A swift reprisal package against Russia – including US troops and Patriot missiles stationed in the Baltics, the cutting off of Russia from the Swift banking payments system and reinstated sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – must be prepared now in case it invades Ukraine, the Latvian foreign minister has said.

The warning from Edgars Rinkēvičs comes as Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin prepare to hold talks about the growing tensions.

The US has said it would send reinforcements to Nato’s eastern flank in the event of an invasion, as well as imposing severe new economic measures against Russia.

With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops already gathered within striking distance of the borders, the situation is the worst it’s been since 2015, when Moscow staged a large-scale incursion into Ukraine, clandestinely sending tanks and artillery to encircle Ukrainian troops and compelling Kyiv to sign a peace agreement in Minsk that has since come close to collapse.

Biden to speak with Putin amid fears of Ukraine invasion

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Joe Biden will hold a virtual call with Vladimir Putin today, amid intensifying concerns about the increased Russian troop presence along the country’s border with Ukraine.

The Guardian’s Julian Borger reports:

Biden goes into Tuesday’s virtual summit with Vladimir Putin, after days of close consultation with European allies on a joint response to an invasion of Ukraine, armed with a wide range of punitive measures at his disposal.

There would be increased military support for Kyiv and a bolstering of Nato’s eastern flank, but the primary focus would be on sanctions. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said they would include ‘high-impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from taking in the past’.

‘I think Biden will lay out in considerable detail what sanctions the US will undertake,’ said Anders Åslund, adjunct professor at the center for Eurasian, Russian and east European studies at Georgetown University. ‘There are very many tools that they have available.’

Previewing the summit yesterday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “It is an opportunity for the president to underscore, of course, US concerns with Russian military activities on the border with Ukraine and reaffirm the United States support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The summit is set to get underway in the next hour. Stay tuned.

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