The U.S. leader risks political embarrassment unless near-record U.S. gasoline prices reverse course, and must avoid a backtrack on human rights that would deepen discontent among his base.
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Some officials from U.S. President Joe Biden's administration are expressing concern that penalties are exacerbating inflation, worsening food insecurity and punishing ordinary Russians.
Western arguments drawing a line between conflict in Ukraine and the spread of war into NATO territory are a nuance that means little to Putin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky said.
Chinese diplomats in Washington have been in contact with U.S. counterparts asking for granular details on the sanctions in an apparent bid for compliance.
The Biden administration is seriously considering whether to seek Moscow's expulsion from the financial messaging system over the Ukraine invasion as allies in Europe warm to the idea.
Sanctions have become the foreign policy option of first resort, despite a growing body of evidence that they often fail to achieve their goals.
The U.S. president's extraordinarily blunt assessment could be seen by some as giving Putin a green light to continue harassing Ukraine.
European nations also fret that Russia would likely retaliate, possibly even cutting crucial gas supplies to a continent already grappling with record high energy prices.
The video call between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin lasted about two hours. It will take months to figure out if the two sides managed to defuse the crisis over Ukraine.
The U.S. warnings over Ukraine comes on top of the more recent standoff between Poland and Belarus, a close Russian ally.