Major Pressure on Russia During the Biden Era

The impacts of U.S. President Joe Biden's sanctions against Russia continue to be spoken in the world public opinion. The U.S. administration has stated that it has decided to impose sanctions against Russia for three reasons. Russia's interference in the presidential elections, the cyberattacks on the U.S. energy sector, and the reports that Russia paid bounties on the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan were indicated. In this framework, Biden Administration has announced that;

- The expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats
- As of June 14, the U.S. financial institutions will be banned from taking part in the primary market for bonds issued by the Central Bank of Russia, the National Wealth Fund of Russia, and the Russian Ministry of Finance
- 6 technology companies that support Russia's cyber activities are also on the sanction list
- There will also be sanctions imposed against 16 individuals and 16 media outlets that tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections.

Biden: "Now is time to de-escalate tensions."


By saying that "We could have gone further, but I chose not to do so," in his special 7-minute talk at the White House, President Biden underlined their unwillingness to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. Biden said, 
 
" I propose to Putin that we meet in person this summer in Europe. I expressed concern about Russia's military buildup on Ukraine's border and occupied and unoccupied Crimea. I affirmed U.S. support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of #Ukraine, and I strongly urge him to refrain from any military action."

Russian Aggression in Ukraine is Still a Major Problem

It is well known that the U.S. Administration is anxious about Russia's ever-increasing troop buildup around the east of Ukraine and provocations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and allied member countries in Brussels and made a joint statement on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Biden Administration is exercising intense international diplomacy to support Ukraine thoroughly and so that Russia does not take action similar to the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Unclarity on U.S. Navy Ships in Black Sea  


The U.S. Department of Defense explained  that demand for warships going to the Black Sea wasn't made recently.In addition, Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that the U.S. has given up sending military ships. It is known that the U.S. The Navy routinely conducts operations within the NATO exercise framework in the Black Sea. It is expected that the U.S. will continue pressuring Russia by collaborating with the allies.

It is not clear whether the U.S. sanctions will bring any changes in Russia's actions especially considering that the previous precautions taken by the U.S. failed to terminate the Russian cyber attacks. Some Russian diplomats were also expelled in 2016 during former President Barack Obama's presidency due to Russia's interference. On the other hand, although Donald Trump does not criticize Putin, he had put in place the option of deporting some Russian diplomats upon the allegations of Russia's poisoning a former intelligence service agent in England in 2018.

Journalist, Ali Cinar

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin in Brussels for Ukraine

After Russia massed troops on the Ukrainian border, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Brussels and announced again "the full support of the U.S. to Ukraine. "

There is heavy Ukrainian traffic in Brussels, the seat of the European Union and NATO. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken came to Brussels for a 2-day visit to hold talks on Iran and Afghanistan and Ukraine. Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin went to Brussels in the evening after his meeting with his German counterpart in Germany and joined Secretary Blinken.

Secretary Blinken met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba, who was in Brussels to seek support from the E.U. and NATO, in the first phase of their meeting the day before the extraordinary meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers. In his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba, Secretary Blinken reiterated "the unwavering support of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression." Secretary Blinken told reporters that "ongoing discussion for being Ukraine's a NATO member"

Speaking to journalists about his meeting with Kuleba, Secretary Blinken warned that since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, it has gathered the largest number of forces on the Ukrainian border, saying, "I conveyed the unwavering U.S. support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia. We continue to support Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration in the face of continued aggression in Donbas and Crimea."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba is in Brussels seeking both political and military support from the E.U. and NATO. Political support statements were made from NATO, G7, and E.U. in the first place. However, no sign of military aid has yet come to Ukraine, which is not a member of the E.U. or  NATO.

Full support" from NATO to Ukraine

Alongside Secretary  Blinken, Kuleba met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and allied country representatives at the NATO-Ukraine joint meeting."NATO stands by Ukraine," said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who met with Kuleba at NATO headquarters. Kuleba asked the allies "not to repeat the mistakes that led to the annexation of Crimea and to give concrete support to Ukraine."

Continuing his contacts in Brussels, Kuleba also held an assessment meeting with permanent representatives of NATO member countries on the crisis. At the meeting, Kuleba explained that they expect "concrete and effective" support from NATO, directly conveying the events in the region to the member countries' representatives and asking Europe and NATO not to repeat the mistake that led to the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asked Russia to end the military buildup and provocations on the Ukrainian border and take steps to reduce tension. Stoltenberg said, "Russia's military buildup is unfair, inexplicable and deeply worrying. Russia should put an end to this military buildup in and around Ukraine, stop their provocations and calm down immediately."

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu announced that NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg would meet with Blinken and Austin tomorrow at NATO headquarters.

Surprise Call with Putin:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. 

Here is the official statement after the call:

They discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty. President Biden also made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions, such as cyber intrusions and election interference. President Biden emphasized the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The President voiced our concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions. President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/13/readout-of-president-joseph-r-biden-jr-call-with-president-vladimir-putin-of-russia-4-13/

Journalist, Ali Cinar

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