The Biden government is pushing for Congress, Europe and Ukraine to stay on the same page as it tries to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine – knowing that this should be what Vladimir Putin wants.
Why it matters: Officials on almost all sides warn that the risk of a major, unprecedented civil war in Europe is greater than at any other time since the fall of the Soviet Union. Few agree on how to prevent it.
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Story management: Russia has been mobilizing troops on the Ukrainian border for several months, and negotiations aimed at curbing the attack failed last week.
US claims to have it intelligence shows that Russia is sending terrorist attackers to eastern Ukraine to operate a “false flag” that could give Moscow a reason to attack – perhaps within a few weeks.
Big picture: The apparent threat of unprecedented sanctions from Europe, linked to the US, could be one of the strongest barriers to attack, given the economic connection between the EU and Russia.
Drama: The Biden government says it is making great strides in integrating, including things like banning the export of essential technologies to Russia.
A European official said on Friday that the blocyo was trying to create a sanction mechanism that could be announced “within a few hours” of possible attacks. He stressed that it was not just a matter of connecting with the US, but also considering European interests and potential.
Working: The power crisis in Europe has confirmed the EU’s reliance on Russia, and questions remain as to how other European countries, especially Germany, can go.
The new German government did not want to commit itself to blocking the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline if Putin attacked.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last week managed to oust six Democrats to support his interest in banning Nord Stream 2, despite Biden officials pressuring people to do so.
The vote failed, but Democrats are unhappy about voting against Putin-backed sanctions because of Biden’s alliance with Germany.
The Ukrainian people are pushing for Biden moving now accepting pipelines and providing them with additional equipment, rather than using those threats as a means of preventing attacks.
NATO, meanwhile, remains in a difficult position to defend its rights to cross-examine Putin’s red line by granting membership in Ukraine, even though the alliance has no intention of doing so in the near future.
Key point: Biden officials have given their views on what Putin can do and when. They have spoken out boldly about the hope of restraining him.
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