Harris warns Russia of ‘unprecedented’ economic costs if it invades Ukraine

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

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MUNICH, Feb 19 (Reuters) – The United States and its allies will impose “significant and unprecedented” economic measures on Russia if it attacks Ukraine, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday.

“National borders should not be changed by force,” she told the Munich security conference.

“I can say with absolute certainty that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States, along with our allies and partners, will impose significant and unprecedented economic costs,” she said.

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“We have prepared economic measures that will be swift, tough and united,” Harris added. “We will target Russia’s key financial institutions and industries.”

She said Washington would not stop at economic action, but would further strengthen NATO’s eastern flank.

Harris added that the United States and its allies remain open to diplomacy, but said “Russia’s actions simply don’t match their words.”

She was due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy in Munich later on Saturday in what would be a show of diplomatic support for the European nation, a day after President Joe Biden said he was “convinced” that Russia had taken the decision to invade Ukraine. L1N2UU05Z

Russia, which has said it has no intention of invading, wants to prevent Kiev from joining NATO and accuses the West of hysteria.

Harris met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and leaders of three Baltic countries on Friday and said Russia needed to show it was open to diplomacy, while announcing unity within the alliance of 30 NATO members and warning Moscow of serious consequences if it invaded Ukraine.

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Reporting by Nandita Bose Writing by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Maria Sheahan and Helen Popper

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