Biden to urge Putin to return to diplomacy over Ukraine: Official

US President Joe Biden will warn his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of “direct costs” should Russia invade Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official has said, on the eve of a scheduled call between the two leaders.

Biden intends to “send a clear message to Russia that there will be genuine and meaningful and direct costs should they choose to go forward with a military escalation” with Ukraine, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity on Monday.

The president is consulting directly with the United States’ European allies in preparation for the call with Putin on Tuesday, the official added.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow have escalated in recent weeks over a major Russian troop build-up on its border with Ukraine, raising fears of a potential invasion and spurring warnings of new Western economic sanctions on Russia.

Biden and Putin will speak in a secure video conference on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced over the weekend.

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