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United States: White House: NATO decides who is a member of the coalition, not Russia

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White House spokeswoman Zhen Zaki said on Friday that NATO countries would decide who would join the coalition, not Russia, citing Russia’s demands to ensure that Ukraine does not join NATO. Psaki also rejected the suggestion that Ukraine make concessions to ease tensions with Russia.

“It is up to NATO countries, not Russia, to decide who is in NATO,” Psaki said, answering the question of whether the United States could consider granting Russia guarantees in the future to exclude Ukraine from the NATO.

A spokesman declined to follow up on an earlier statement by President Joe Biden that he was preparing “the most complete and meaningful initiative” in response to a possible Russian invasion.

“We want to make sure we are ready because we know what President Putin has done in the past and we can see that he has the potential to take action. If he decides to invade, we want to be ready,” Psaki said. . He acknowledged that there were sanctions on the initiative, but said it was a matter of arms supplies to Ukraine. He noted that a series of sanctions were being prepared in collaboration with US allies and Congress.

Psaki confirmed that the White House is in talks with Russia over arranging talks between Presidents Biden and Putin, but has not decided when that will take place.

The White House spokesman said Washington did not want to put any pressure on Ukraine to make the concessions Russia had sought to resolve the crisis.

“We must not forget who provoked the current tensions – it is Russia. And it is Russia’s duty to alleviate it,” Zaki said.

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Earlier on Friday, President Biden announced that he was preparing a set of “initiatives” that would make Russia’s possible re-occupation of Ukraine “extremely difficult.”

In recent days, White House officials have unofficially signaled their support for sanctions proposed in the Senate by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Menendez – whom he calls “the mother of all sanctions” – which includes full-scale restrictions. Russian oligarchy, banks, state-owned enterprises and the Nord Stream 2 project.

From Washington, Oscar Korsinski

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