WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration on Saturday issued new strong warnings to Russia about sanctions it could face if it threatens to invade Ukraine.
US officials have raised the possibility of gradual changes in decisions about America’s future strategic position in Europe. But they also said Russia would be hit with debilitating sanctions if it intervened in Ukraine.
Officials said the administration would be open to discussions with Russia on reducing possible future deployments of offensive missiles in Ukraine and limiting US and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe. .
Still, they said Russia would be hit hard by economic sanctions if it intervened in Ukraine. In addition to direct sanctions against Russian entities, these sanctions could include significant restrictions on products exported from the United States to Russia and products potentially manufactured abroad subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
The comments came as senior US and Russian officials prepare to meet in Switzerland on Monday amid heightened tensions over Ukraine.
Officials said the United States was willing to discuss some limited aspects of its European security position in the talks. But they stressed that any agreement would be conditional on Russia removing threats against Ukraine and that no decision would be taken without the consent of Ukraine or NATO.
And, they said there was no way the United States would reduce its military presence or its arsenal in Eastern Europe as Russia requested.
While the comments, made to reporters on condition of anonymity during a White House conference call, were the first to suggest a willingness to compromise on issues tangential to Ukraine, they were accompanied by threats to Russian inaction in the face of American demands to take a step back. .
In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, “we – in coordination with our allies and partners – would immediately impose severe and crushing costs on the Russian economy, including its financial system and sectors deemed critical to the Kremlin,” another official said.
In addition to sanctions on energy and consumer goods, the United States and its allies are considering banning the export to Russia of advanced electronic components, software and related technology using American equipment. Russia could be added to the most restrictive group of countries for export control purposes, along with Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria, officials said.
This would mean that Russia’s ability to obtain integrated circuits and products containing integrated circuits would be severely limited, due to the global dominance of American software, technology and equipment in this sector. The impact could extend to airplane avionics, machine tools, smartphones, game consoles, tablets and televisions.
Such sanctions could also target critical Russian industry, including its defense and civil aviation sectors, undermining Russia’s high-tech ambitions, whether in artificial intelligence or quantum computing.
US officials have been careful not to issue ultimatums to Russia, while at the same time demanding that threats against Ukraine cease. But they also categorically rejected Russian demands that NATO will not expand further east and that the United States withdraw its troops and weapons from Eastern Europe.
Despite this position, the United States and NATO have signaled their willingness to explore compromises on related issues.
“We think we can at least explore the possibility of making progress with the Russians,” an official said on Saturday, ahead of Monday’s strategic and security dialogue between the United States and Russia in Geneva. He added, however, that “there will be no firm commitment made in these talks.”
Monday’s meeting will be followed by talks between Russia and NATO members on Wednesday and with a wider European audience on Thursday.
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