Biden and the US strategy in Ukraine: different packages of preventive measures. The attack? “Always possible”

from Giuseppe Sarcina

Pressure on allies, but different packages of punitive measures. The attack? For the White House “always possible”. Germany and Italy reluctant to block gas imports

Antony Blinken yesterday ordered the transfer of the US embassy in Ukraine from Kiev to Lviv, a city on the border with Poland. In a note the Secretary of State explained that the decision is due “to the dramatic acceleration of the crisis”, given the massive deployment of Russian troops on the border. The US government, therefore, is keeping the alarm high, despite the first signs of relaxation.

Stop for a ride

In Washington they took note of the double declaration arriving from Moscow. First Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin: “Relations with the United States are at a very low level”. Then Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister: “There is still room for dialogue”. The interpretation of the White House is the most logical one: the Russians will now try to breach the European side. Evidently, last Saturday’s phone call between Joe Biden and Putin was even more harsh than what was officially communicated. The American president has flatly rejected the interlocutor’s main request: Ukraine must not join NATO. Not only. Biden, at least for the moment, has not indicated other solutions to unblock the crisis, if not those contained in the now famous letter delivered to the Kremlin on January 26th. That document was never made public, but according to US media rumors, the Biden Administration has offered a broader dialogue on disarmament in Europe, without however questioning Ukraine’s right to choose military alliances and therefore to to be able to join NATO one day. At this point Biden seems to have decided to stop for a while: he has disconnected from Moscow and is waiting to see if the initiatives of the European leaders will bring any results. Today, therefore, attention is focused on the summit between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Putin.

Alarm strategy

In the meantime, however, Washington is keeping the tension high. In recent days, American newspapers have even published an unprecedented CIA forecast formulated in these terms: Russia will invade Ukraine on Wednesday, February 16, that is, tomorrow. The National Security AdvisorJake Sullivan, denied the indication of the date, but, again on Sunday, in a television interview, he confirmed the substance: Moscow’s troops can cross over at any moment. Several commentators have noted how the Biden government has transformed communication into a tool of deterrence against the Russians and, at the same time, of pressure on European governments and public opinion.

The sanctions test

Then there is the consultation work that continues feverishly. Blinken and Sullivan are calling the European interlocutors on repeat. Biden’s two main contributors are focusing on sanctions. The Americans want to be sure that the Western Front will remain united at the decisive moment. There are doubts, so much so that, for example, the issue of gas seems to have slipped into the background. Germans and Italians, above all, resist the idea of ​​blocking the import of fuel from Russia, as the United States would like to do. The point is, despite the efforts, the Biden Administration it has not succeeded in setting up a credible alternative gas supply plan in a short time. We then think about how to keep the different needs together. Sullivan also suggested the trail, in the important press conference on Friday 11 February: the United States and the European Union are preparing packages of “similar”, but not identical, punitive measures.

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