Watch: President Biden addresses escalating tensions in Ukraine
President Joe Biden on Tuesday acknowledged the likelihood that U.S. and allied sanctions on Russia in retaliation for an invasion of Ukraine would have significant blowback on the American economy, including possible price hikes and disruption to the nation’s energy supply.
“The American people understand that defending democracy and liberty is never without cost,” Biden said in remarks at the White House about the ongoing crisis. “I will not pretend this will be painless.”
He said the administration was working proactively to try to preempt supply issues by working with energy producers and shippers on contingency plans, and said he would work with Congress on unspecified “additional measures to protect consumers and address the impact of prices at the pump.”
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Biden also said Tuesday that the U.S. has “not yet verified" Russia’s claim that some of its forces have withdrawn from the Ukraine border. He said an invasion of Ukraine remains a distinct possibility.
Biden spoke hours after Russia announced that some units participating in military exercises near Ukraine's borders would begin returning to their bases. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier Tuesday said Russia was ready for talks with the United States and NATO on military transparency, missile deployment limits and other security issues.
But Biden continued to express skepticism about Russia’s intentions. Biden warned again that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. “will rally the world to oppose its aggression."
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is ready for talks with the United States and NATO on military transparency, missile deployment limits and other security issues. Putin’s statement after hosting Germany’s chancellor on Tuesday added to signs of easing tensions over a Russian military buildup near Ukraine.
Russia has amassed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine. While the U.S. agreed that there was still a possibility of a diplomatic path out, the country, along with the U.K. and other allies, have kept up their warnings that those forces could move on Ukraine at any moment.
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