Kremlin Sends Threat To Joe Biden

( Russia issued a warning to President Joe Biden on Wednesday: They’ll only agree to a summit with the U.S. if America behaves well.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, told reporters on Wednesday that it was too early to discuss any details of a potential summit between the two countries, and that “no specifics” have been talked about yet. He told the RIA news agency in Russia:

“While it is too early to talk about the place and time, it still has to be coordinated through diplomatic channels, including further concrete actions. Of course, further elaboration of the proposal for a meeting in one of the European countries is possible only taking into account the analysis of the real situation and further steps of our counterparts.”

This statement came after Biden held a call with Putin recently. The two discussed a wide range of issues, according to The Hill. That includes the military buildup Russia is doing on its border with Ukraine, as well as cyber interference Russia is undertaking in the U.S.

In a readout of that call, the White House said:

“President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.”

For its part, Russia and President Vladimir Putin have defended their decision to increase their military presence near Ukraine. He says it’s simply a military drill that’s in response to a “threatening posture from NATO.”

Many military officials worry that it may be the lead-up to another Russian offensive attack, like it did in 2014 when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Last week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters:

“The United States is increasingly concerned by recent escalating Russian aggressions in eastern Ukraine, including Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s border. Russia now has more troops on the border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014. Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed this week alone. These are all deeply concerning signs.”

Hopes for a summit between the two countries any time soon may have taken a hit on Thursday, though. That’s because Biden imposed some new sanctions on Russia that included expelling some diplomatic personnel. This was in response to cyberattacks and election interference initiating by Russia.

In a press release, the White House said:

“President Biden signed a new sanctions executive order that provides strengthened authorities to demonstrate the Administration’s resolve in responding to and deterring the full scope of Russia’s harmful foreign activities.”

In the announcement, the White House formally mentioned the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service as the group responsible for the cyberattack at SolarWinds that affected various departments of the federal government as well as many private companies.

While Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, reiterated on Thursday that he believes the two countries should hold that summit “to discuss all of the issues facing our relationship,” these sanctions may put a damper on that, at least in Putin’s mind.