February 15 news on Ukraine-Russia tensions

President Biden addressed the Ukraine-Russia crisis during a speech from the White House on Tuesday and expressed optimism about diplomatic efforts while also warning Russia of consequences if an invasion were to occur.

Here are some key takeaways from his remarks:

An appeal for diplomacy: Biden addressed Russian citizens directly citizens and said the US and its allies are not a threat to them and that there’s “plenty” of room for diplomacy with Russia to avoid a conflict in Europe.

“The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Neither the US nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not — do not — have plans to put them there, as well. We’re not targeting the people of Russia. We do not seek to destabilize Russia. To the citizens of Russia: you are not our enemy,” Biden said.

The President told Russians he did not believe they wanted “a bloody destructive war against Ukraine, a country and the people with whom you share such deep ties of family history and culture.”

He harkened back to World War II, pointing out that Americans and Russians had “fought and sacrificed side by side in the worst war in history.”

Biden sounded optimistic that diplomacy would resolve the crisis after Russia publicly proposed to continue talks, saying, “We should give the diplomacy every chance to succeed and I believe there are real ways to address our respective security concerns.”

The President said the US is “proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures (and) new strategic stability measures,” adding that “these measures apply to all parties — NATO and Russia alike.”

A warning for Russia if an invasion occurs: Biden also cautioned that if Russia invades Ukraine in the coming days or weeks “it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation” and severe consequences.

“The human cost for Ukraine will be immense. And the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense,” the President warned, “If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation. The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction.”

Biden said that though the US is “not seeking direct confrontation with Russia,” he’s been clear “that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully.”

Possible impacts in the US if invasion occurs: He also addressed the consequences Americans will face if Russia moves into Ukraine, saying that “the American people understand that defending democracy and liberty is never without cost.”

The US is prepared to respond to higher energy prices and the potential for cyberattacks, Biden said.

“I will not pretend this will be painless,” Biden noted.

Russia’s troop movements: Biden also cautioned that the US has not yet verified that Russia has begun the withdrawal of some troops following the completion of recent military drills.

“We have not yet verified the Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” Biden said.

The President also underscored that “Russia has more than 150,000 troops circling Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine’s border, and invasion remains distinctly possible.”

That amassing of troops has continued to raise fears among Western and Ukrainian intelligence officials that an invasion could be imminent.

Russia announced earlier Tuesday that some of its troops would return to base after completing recent drills, but stressed that major military exercises would continue.

Read more about Biden’s remarks here.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, DJ Judd, Nikki Carvajal, Ivana Kottasová, Nathan Hodge and Uliana Pavlova contributed reporting to this post.






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