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Biden warns Putin of devastating costs of Ukrainian invasion, as Britons return

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U

S President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that invading Ukraine would cause “widespread human suffering”, as Britons urged to flee the region began arriving back in the UK.

The White House account of the crisis call on Saturday said Mr Biden warned an attack would “diminish Russia’s standing” as the West pinned hopes on diplomacy to avert war.

They were said to have spoken for around an hour after French President Emmanuel Macron also shared a call with Mr Putin, with fears of an imminent attack heightening.

UK nationals in Ukraine are being urged by the Foreign Office to “leave now while commercial means are still available”.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey warned Russia is in a position to be able to attack “very, very quickly”, with an estimated 130,000 troops on Ukraine’s border.

But unlike when the Taliban seized Kabul, Mr Heappey stressed that the RAF would not be carrying out evacuations in the event of war in Ukraine.

The White House said: “President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia.

“President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.”

Mr Biden told the Russian leader that the US and allies are prepared to engage in diplomacy – but are “equally prepared for other scenarios”, the White House said.

It was understood that Boris Johnson, who spoke to the Russian president earlier this month, does not have any calls with Moscow scheduled.

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