US officials say that they are still holding out hope that diplomacy will prevail amid a potential threat of military action by Russia in Ukraine.
Hope for diplomacy: The US continues to seek a diplomatic solution to defuse the crisis along Ukraine’s borders, the White House said Monday, but called the continued buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border a hindrance to de-escalation.
“We are actively working to reach a diplomatic solution to deescalate the crisis,” deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, responding to a question about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comments that the window for diplomacy hasn’t closed.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “willing to negotiate,” adding the Ukraine crisis was only one part of Russia’s larger security concerns.
“First of all, President Putin has always been demanding negotiations and diplomacy,” Peskov told CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen late Monday. “And actually, he initiated the issue of guarantees of security for the Russian Federation. And Ukraine is just a part of the problem, it’s a part of the bigger problem of security guarantees for Russia and of course President Putin is willing to negotiate,” he said.”
Preparing for “military action”: While diplomatic lines remain open, the State Department made the decision move remaining diplomats from Kyiv to western Ukraine, because the department felt it was “absolutely necessary” due to the “distinct possibility, perhaps more real than ever before, that Russia may decide to proceed with military action,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.
During a Pentagon briefing, press secretary John Kirby said Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to add to” his “menu of options” with the type of capabilities he has added from the Russian military by land, sea and air.
“I would just say this, that he continues to advance his readiness should he choose to go down a military path here, should he choose to invade again, he is doing all of the things that you would expect him to do to make sure that he’s ready for that option, or options,” Kirby said.
Wall Street impact: The Dow fell 172 points — or 0.5% — on Monday as Wall Street struggled to interpret the financial impact of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
As the United States announced the closing of the US embassy in Kyiv, US stocks dropped.
On the ground in Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border represents an “unprecedented challenge for Europe and globally.”
“The escalation at the Ukranian-Russian border is an unprecedented challenge for Europe and globally,” Zelensky said, speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “That’s why it is very important that our partners support our country economically, in the area of defense.”
“I always reiterated that without Ukraine it is impossible to shape the security in Europe,” he went on to say. “The security of Ukraine is the security of Europe and only together can we find some ways of how to defend and protect our children,” he added.