Russia boss warns the world were not afraid of anyone as war fears intensify

Russia: Fiona Hill outlines ‘great concern’

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Asked by CBS News if Russia was intimidated by Ukraine, Mr Ryabkov replied: “We’re not afraid of anyone, even not of the US.” It comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia it was committed to a united, swift and severe response if Vladimir Putin pursues aggression following a swing through Europe to shore up American allies’ commitments to hit Russia with sanctions if it goes ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.

But he said the US does not expect to resolve its differences with Russia over Ukraine but hopes to test whether diplomacy remains a viable option.

Mr Blinken said: “This is a critical moment. You’re right: We don’t expect to resolve our differences here today.

“But I do hope and expect that we can test whether the path of diplomacy, of dialogue, remains open.

“We’re committed to walking that path, to resolving our differences peacefully and I hope to test that proposition today.”

During the meeting, Mr Ryabkov said Moscow expects to receive a written reply from Washington to its demands on security guarantees next week.

Mr Ryabkov said Russia blamed the US for the fact that bilateral ties were close to a “dangerous critical line”, but hoped to persuade Washington to change its approach.

Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops on its borders with Ukraine, and Western states fear it is planning a new assault on a country it invaded in 2014.

Russia denies planning an attack, but says it could take unspecified military action if a list of demands are not met, including a promise from NATO never to admit Ukraine.

Washington’s hopes of building a united front of opposition to Moscow were complicated by US President Joe Biden’s comments at a news conference on Wednesday in which he said he did not believe Mr Putin wanted a full blown war and would pay a “dear price” if he did mount a military incursion against Russia’s neighbour.

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Speaking at a news conference to mark his one-year anniversary in office, Mr Biden said he believed Russia was preparing to take action, although he did not think Mr Putin had made a final decision.

He suggested that the US would limit Russia’s access to the international banking system if it did further invade Ukraine.

 

Mr Biden said: “There is no doubt, let there be no doubt at all, that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

Asked about Mr Biden’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had been receiving similar warnings for at least a month.

He said: ”We believe that they in no way contribute to defusing the tension that has now arisen in Europe and, moreover, can contribute to the destabilisation of the situation.”

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