US vows to stop Russia from invading Ukraine

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden said on Friday he would make it “very, very difficult” for Russia to launch any invasion of Ukraine, which warned that a large-scale attack may be planned for next month.

Washington and Kiev say Moscow has massed troops near Ukraine’s borders and accuse Russia of planning an invasion.

Biden and President Vladimir Putin are due to hold a video call shortly to discuss the rising tensions, both sides confirmed on Friday.

Biden told reporters in Washington he was putting together “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”

Moscow seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since backed separatists fighting Kiev in the east of the country. The conflict has left more than 13,000 dead.

“The most likely time to reach readiness for escalation will be the end of January,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told parliament in Kiev on Friday.

A report in the Washington Post on Friday, citing US officials and an intelligence document, said Russia was planning a multi-front offensive involving up to 175,000 troops as soon as next year.

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