President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are squaring off over the massive buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. The U.S. president is eager to use his video call with Putin to serve notice that Moscow will face economy-jarring sanctions if it invades neighboring Ukraine. Just hours before the call got underway, Ukrainian officials charge Russia is continuing to escalate the crisis by sending tanks and snipers to war-torn eastern Ukraine to “provoke return fire.” The White House says Biden aims to make clear that his administration stands ready to take actions against the Kremlin that would exact “a very real cost” on the Russian economy.
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