‘Complete rupture’ in US-Russia relations – Biden

Biden described the state of US relations with Russia after refusing to sanction Putin over the military operation in Ukraine

Asked about the potential of another Cold War, US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that there is a “complete rupture” in American-Russia relations, adding that it could get even worse depending on developments in Ukraine.

“There is a complete rupture right now in US-Russian relations if they continue on this path that they are on,” Biden said. 

As for whether another Cold War could be potentially coming, Biden said, “that depends.”

“You have the vast majority of the rest of the world in total opposition to what [Putin] is doing,” the president said, adding, “it’s going to be a cold day for Russia.”

“It’s gonna be a cold day for Russia.”
President Biden plays down fears of another Cold War, but acknowledges “there is a complete rupture right now in US-Russian relations.” pic.twitter.com/AFRwsCkSOV

— Forbes (@Forbes) February 24, 2022

Biden announced a second round of economic sanctions on Russia hours after President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian military was moving into Ukraine to “demilitarize and denazify” the country. The sanctions in response are a mix of measures targeting individuals and Russia’s financial institutions. Biden declined to say why he would not personally sanction Putin, but said it is “on the table” for when the administration reassesses the sanctions and their effectiveness over the next month. 

The president was also questioned on Thursday about why he did not go further with the sanctions and dismiss Russia from the SWIFT payment system, which connects numerous banks across the world and could have a noticeably negative effect on Russia’s economy. Biden responded by claiming that the newest economic sanctions “exceed” removing Russia from the SWIFT program. He added that this option remains on the table, but it is not the position that “the rest of Europe wishes to take.”

In addition to the sanctions, 7,000 US troops are being deployed to Germany to defend NATO territory and provide support, but the president insisted US troops will not be fighting in Ukraine.

Another sign of trouble in US-Russia relations occurred on Thursday when Minister Counselor Sergey Trepelkov, the number two Russian diplomat in Washington DC, was expelled, a senior State Department official told the Associated Press.

The expulsion is unrelated to the ongoing Ukraine conflict, according to officials, and was likely in response to Moscow expelling US Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman earlier this month, which the anonymous official referred to as “unprovoked,” while the Kremlin linked it to the tit-for-tat diplomatic row that has been going for at least eight years now. The expulsions and staffing disagreements between DC and Moscow have been escalating ever since Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in the March 2014 referendum – the event that the US insists was an “annexation.”

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