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Italy, US warn of serious consequences over escalation of Russia-Ukraine crisis

Italian PM Mario Draghi said he spoke via videoconference with his US, French, German, British and Polish counterparts and European Union and NATO leaders, and all of them agreed on the need to keep open “a channel of dialogue with Russia to ease tensions.”

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Russia would risk “serious consequences” from an escalation of the border crisis with Ukraine, Italy warned Monday, following talks with the US and its European allies.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he spoke via video conference with his US, French, German, British and Polish counterparts and European Union and NATO leaders, and all of them agreed on the need to keep open “a channel of dialogue with Russia to ease tensions.”

Will this dialogue between countries help in escalating tension?

But this dialogue should “at the same time clarify the serious consequences that could derive from a further deterioration of the situation,” the Italian leader stressed, indicating that the video call was organized by US President Joe Biden.

Read more: Ukraine crisis could produce an unexpected winner: Iran

During the talks, “support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine was reiterated,” and participants stressed the “importance of maintaining the closest coordination between the allies and the need for a common response,” Draghi added.

According to his statement, the call was attended by Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Polish President Andrzej Duda, EU Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The US deploys 8,500 troops

The U.S. military on Monday put about 8,500 troops on alert to be ready to deploy to Europe if needed, potentially on very short notice, in the latest effort to reassure jittery NATO allies in the face of a Russian military buildup near Ukraine.

Although the decision did not bolster U.S. support to Ukraine, which is not part of the NATO alliance, it underscored the growing NATO preparations for what Washington and Kyiv believe are Russian moves to mass its forces for a potential invasion of Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the bulk of the 8,500 U.S. troops were being notified of ready-to-deploy orders so they could fill in the ranks of a NATO rapid response force, should the alliance call them up for duty.

But Kirby stressed that Austin also wanted an unspecified number of troops “to be ready for any other contingencies as well.”

Read more: Is US sanctioning Russia over Ukraine?

“What’s happening now is getting them ready on a shorter tether,” Kirby told a news briefing.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk