President Joe Biden detailed new sanctions on Russia Thursday but warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against escalating a conflict with the United States.
“I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate,” Biden said during a speech at the White House.
Biden called for both countries to work together on shared interests, despite his latest round of sanctions in response to the SolarWinds hack.
“Now is the time to deescalate,” Biden said. “The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process.”
Biden said he was both “candid and respectful” in a phone conversation with Putin on Tuesday, recalling he was “unequivocal” during the campaign about punishing Russia for meddling in the elections of the United States.
The president said his decision to level sanctions and expel ten diplomatic personnel from Washington, DC, was the fulfillment of that campaign promise.
But Biden tried to sound a conciliatory note, urging Putin to engage in diplomacy with the United States on issues like fighting the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and reducing nuclear arms.
“The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia,” Biden said. “We want a stable, predictable relationship.”
Biden also warned Putin against acting militarily in Ukraine, after building up troop levels on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“We will always stand in defending our country, our institutions, our people, and our allies,” he said.
Biden said he proposed to Putin a summit in Europe in the summer.
“Our teams are discussing that possibility right now,” he said.