Russia Says Joe Biden Remarks Destabilizing Ukraine

Russia hit back after President Joe Biden warned he would impose further sanctions on the country if it were to invade Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to Biden's comment that Moscow faced "severe economic consequences" if it took aggressive military action against Ukraine.

The sanctions might include the punishing measure of cutting Russia off from the international financial sector by blocking the access the country's banks have to the U.S. dollar.

Biden and other Western leaders, as well as NATO, have warned of an imminent invasion of Ukraine, with more than 100,000 Russian troops massed on its border with its neighbor.

"We believe that they [U.S. statements] in no way contribute to defusing the tension that has now arisen in Europe," Peskov said Thursday, according to Russian news agencies.

Peskov said Biden's latest statement could add to "the destabilization of the situation" and that it might provoke the Ukrainian leadership to "start a new civil war in their country and try to solve the problems of the southeast by force."

"We are afraid of this," Peskov added, Interfax reported.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova included the U.S. in wider criticism of Western countries accusing Moscow of planning an invasion of Ukraine.

She said the claims were part of "an information cover-up for preparing their own large-scale provocations," adding that the U.K. had been "delivering weapons" by air to Ukraine "for several days now."

On Monday, U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain was supplying Kyiv with "light anti-armour defensive weapon systems," as well as British personnel to help with training.

"We urge Western countries to halt the hostile anti-Russian media crusade," Zakharova said, according to news agency Tass.

Talks in Deadlock

Talks last week between Russian, U.S. and NATO officials over the Ukraine crisis ended in deadlock.

Moscow is growing impatient as it awaits a written response from the U.S. and NATO to its security guarantee demands.

These include that the alliance guarantees not to admit Ukraine and that there is a drawdown of NATO's presence by Russia's borders. The U.S. has dismissed those proposals as "non starters."

However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in a bid to find a diplomatic solution that would ease the threat of war in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, Peskov also said that there could be further telephone discussions between Biden and President Vladimir Putin after Moscow receives responses to its security demands,

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin
This split image shows Presidents Vladimir Putin (left) in Moscow on January 20, 2022, and Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on January 19. The Kremlin has criticized Biden's sanctions warning to Russia. Getty