U.S. President Joe Biden has affirmed U.S. support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine during a Thursday speech on Russia.
"I affirmed U.S. support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said in a speech, as reported on the White House's website.
"Now is the time to de-escalate. The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process. The U.S. is prepared to continue constructively to move forward that process," the U.S. president said.
Read alsoBiden declares "national emergency" over threat posed by RussiaBiden stressed "where it is in the interest of the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will."
"Where Russia seeks to violate the interests of the United States, we will respond. And we'll always stand in defense of our country, our institutions, our people, and our allies," he said.
Biden noted the United States is not looking to "kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia," but is ready to slap new sanctions.
U.S. sanctions against Russia
- On April 15, 2021, the United States introduced new sanctions against the Russian Federation over malicious cyber activities and meddling in U.S. presidential elections.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned 32 entities and individuals carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and other acts of disinformation and interference.
- Also, the U.S. is expelling ten personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC.
Russian troops amassing along Ukraine's borders
- On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
- According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
- On March 31, 2021, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
- Footage was shared on the Internet, showing a train with Russian military hardware en route along the Kerch Strait bridge to occupied Crimea.
- The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.
- The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
- The United States, finding reports of Russian military movements on Ukraine's border credible, asked Moscow to explain the "provocations" and is ready to engage on the situation.
- On April 8, 2021, Khomchak assured the situation was under control, and the Ukrainian military was ready to respond to the escalation both in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and along the entire Ukrainian-Russian border.