It comes after the leaders of the US Senate foreign relations committee said on Sunday they were on the verge of approving “the mother of all sanctions” against Vladimir Putin, warning there would be no appeasement as the Russian president contemplates an invasion of Ukraine.
“We cannot have a Munich moment again,” the panel’s Democratic chairman Bob Menendez told CNN, referring to the 1938 agreement by which allies ceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, believing it would stave off war.
“Putin will not stop if he believes the West will not respond,” Mr Menendez said. “We saw what he did in 2008 in Georgia, we saw what he did in 2014 in pursuit of Crimea. He will not stop.”
Speaking about Monday’s meeting, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said: “We’re going to go into the council prepared to listen to Russia’s security concerns, but we’re not going to be distracted by their propaganda.”
On Sunday, Kyiv urged Moscow to pull back its troops from Ukraine’s border and continue dialogue with the West if it was “serious” about de-escalating tensions that have soared.
The UK government promised to ramp up sanctions against Mr Putin and his associates. Canada moved its Ukraine-based military units westward and announced the temporary withdrawal of all non-essential employees from its Kyiv embassy, citing ongoing Russian threats along the border.
Meanwhile, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of Nato, said Europe needed to diversify its energy supplies, saying the situation “demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on one supplier of natural gas”.
Tensions on the Ukraine border have continued to escalate, with Reuters reporting the Russian military build-up included supplies of blood in anticipation of casualties.
John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told Fox News: “Putin has a lot of options available to him if he wants to further invade Ukraine, and he can execute some of those options imminently. It could happen really, honestly, at any time.”
‘Mother of all sanctions’
In the US there have been disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over whether measures should be imposed before or after any Russian invasion.
However, Mr Menendez said: “There is an incredible bipartisan resolve for support of Ukraine, and an incredibly strong bipartisan resolve to have severe consequences for Russia if it invades, and in some cases for what it has already done.
Mr Menendez said moves being considered include “massive sanctions against the most significant Russian banks, crippling to their economy, Russia sovereign debt”. “These are sanctions beyond any that we have ever levied before,” he added.
“There are some sanctions that could take place up front because of what Russia has already done, cyberattacks on Ukraine, false flag operations, the efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government internally,” he said.
“But then the devastating sanctions that ultimately would crush Russia’s economy, and the continuing lethal aid that we are going to send, means Putin has to decide how many body bags of Russian sons are going to return to Russia.
“The sanctions we’re talking about would come later on if he invades, some sanctions w