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Biden ignores questions on Ukraine while out to lunch in DC as Kamala Harris meets with Ukrainian president Zelensky and threatens Putin with 'significant and unprecedented' sanctions if Russia invades: 160,000 troops are 'poised to strike'

  President Joe Biden dodged questions from the press about the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine after a lunch out Saturday wi...

 President Joe Biden dodged questions from the press about the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine after a lunch out Saturday with his granddaughters in Washington, D.C.

'Good to see you,' the president responded to reporters' questions as he left The Hamilton restaurant after a meal with Hunter Biden's daughters Finnegan Biden and Naomi Biden, and Naomi's fianc√© Peter Neal. 

Vice President Kamala Harris, on the other hand, had plenty to say over the weekend. 

The veep publicly warned President Vladimir Putin of the 'swift and severe' consequences he will face if Russia further invades Ukraine and branded him a 'lying propagandist' after a car bomb destroyed a pipeline forcing the evacuation of 700,000.   

In a speech early Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Harris said the United States and its allies are prepared to impose significant and unprecedented economic costs on Russia if it further invades Ukraine, Reuters reported. 

'Let me be clear, I can say with absolute certainty, if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States together with our allies and partners will impose significant and unprecedented economic costs,' Harris said at the annual conference of the world's top national security officials. 

Meanwhile, press secretary Jen Psaki sent out a statement later Saturday saying Biden would convene a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday and that the president has been regularly updated on the situation. 

Between 160,000 and 190,000 Russian troops are now estimated to be stationed at the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian citizens - including the elderly - have been pictured receiving combat training in recent days. And around 700,000 people have been evacuated from Eastern Ukraine into Russia by pro-Putin separatists in anticipation of the conflict kicking off.

President Joe Biden dodges questions from the press about growing Russia-Ukraine tension before he was whisked out of the restaurant flanked by his granddaughters Naomi and Finnegan. The First Family was bundled into a Secret Service SUV and whisked back to the White House.

President Joe Biden dodges questions from the press about growing Russia-Ukraine tension before he was whisked out of the restaurant flanked by his granddaughters Naomi and Finnegan. The First Family was bundled into a Secret Service SUV and whisked back to the White House.

Joe Biden is pictured leaving The Hamilton restaurant in Washington DC Saturday. He did not attend the Munich event

Joe Biden is pictured leaving The Hamilton restaurant in Washington DC Saturday. He did not attend the Munich event 

Putin did not attend this year's Munich Security Conference and has yet to comment on Harris's criticism.  President Biden also stayed away, and was pictured leaving The Hamilton restaurant in D.C. on Saturday with his granddaughters Naomi and Finnegan. 

Harris, meanwhile, was pictured next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the event, alongside other leaders. The Vice President and her fellow lawmakers were all masked up, even though she has been fully-vaccinated and boosted against COVID. 

Zelensky has since called for sanctions to be imposed immediately, and said it was no good to him if they were enacted after Putin attacked.

He said Saturday: 'What are you waiting for? We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen… Why would we need those sanctions then?'

Also present at the conference were Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who posed unmasked for a photo with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Pelosi was later pictured sitting down while wearing a mask and chatting to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as his Democrat colleague Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  

On Saturday Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured) said the US and its allies has tried to engage with Russia to find diplomatic solution but their effort have not been met by the Kremlin in good faith

On Saturday Vice President Kamala Harris (pictured) said the US and its allies has tried to engage with Russia to find diplomatic solution but their effort have not been met by the Kremlin in good faith

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Harris said the United States and its allies were prepared to impose significant and unprecedented economic costs on Russia if it further invades Ukraine

In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Harris said the United States and its allies were prepared to impose significant and unprecedented economic costs on Russia if it further invades Ukraine

Harris is pictured with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Munich on Saturday. Both leaders wore masks - Harris a heavy-duty KN95-style covering, even though she is fully-vaccinated and boosted against COVID

Harris is pictured with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Munich on Saturday. Both leaders wore masks - Harris a heavy-duty KN95-style covering, even though she is fully-vaccinated and boosted against COVID 

Harris, Zelensky and their aides all masked up for a round-table discussion at the Munich Security Conference

Harris, Zelensky and their aides all masked up for a round-table discussion at the Munich Security Conference 

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Saturday's conference, where Russia's invasion of Ukraine was the top talking point

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Saturday's conference, where Russia's invasion of Ukraine was the top talking point 

Pelosi removed her mask for the snap with Scholz, but stood well away from him in an apparent nod to COVID protocols

Pelosi removed her mask for the snap with Scholz, but stood well away from him in an apparent nod to COVID protocols

Pelosi and her fellow lawmakers - including Senator Lindsey Graham (pictured furthest left, beside Pelosi) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse were all snapped in masks ahead of Kamala Harris's speech at the security summit on Saturday

Pelosi and her fellow lawmakers - including Senator Lindsey Graham (pictured furthest left, beside Pelosi) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse were all snapped in masks ahead of Kamala Harris's speech at the security summit on Saturday 

Kamala threatens Putin with 'significant and unprecedented' consequences
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Russian news agencies said a gas pipeline in Ukraine’s breakaway region of People’s Republic of Luhansk, caught fire late on Friday after a blast. It came after authorities there warned that Ukraine was planning to attack - setting the stage for conflict
The burning wreckage of a car is seen in the car park of the Donetsk separatist government, after what pro-Russian media claimed was an assassination attempt against the head of regional security

A gas pipeline was blown up in Luhansk on Friday (left) hours after a car bomb was detonated in the city of Donetsk (right). Both areas of eastern Ukraine are strongly-pro Russia, with the blasts feared to be the anticipated 'false flag' staged attacks that Putin could use as a pretext to invade 

Pelosi: There's a price to pay for what Putin has put us through
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The Vice President said the US and its allies have tried to engage with Russia to find diplomatic solutions but their efforts have not been met by the Kremlin in good faith.

'Russia continues to say it is ready to talk while at the same time it narrows the avenues for diplomacy,' Harris said. 'Their actions simply do not match their words.' 

Harris also accused Putin of feigning 'ignorance and innocence' as he works on fabricating a false pretext for invading Ukraine, CNN reported. 

She was likely referring to two recent bombing attacks over the last day, which the U.S. has accused the Kremlin of staging to give Putin a pretext for war. 

On Friday, a gas pipeline near Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine caught fire after being blown up, a Ukrainian gas official said.

The pipeline was struck by 'a powerful explosion' that cut off nearly 100 households from the gas supply, Interfax news agency reported, citing a local natural gas supplier.

Tatiana Bogorodko, head of Luhanskgas, was quoted by Interfax as saying that the pipeline blast was caused by sabotage. She did not elaborate further. 

Luhansk is one of the two main pro-Russia cities in Eastern Ukraine. Hours before, a car bomb exploded in the other Eastern Ukrainian separatist city of Donetsk.

The vehicle was said to belong to Dennis Sinenkov, chief of the People's Militia. It is unclear if the bomb killed or injured anyone, although some reports said one person had been injured.

Friday's blast went off in a parking lot and was heard throughout Donetsk. Snaps of the aftermath showed the target vehicle destroyed and engulfed in flames, with just its front half intact.  

The Vice President said that the Russian aggression playbook is 'too familiar to us all.'


'We now receive reports of what appears to be provocations and we see Russia spreading disinformation, lies and propaganda. Nonetheless, in a deliberate and coordinated effort, we together are one, exposing the truth and two, speaking with a unified voice,' Harris said Saturday.

'We have prepared economic measures that will be swift, severe, and united,' she added. 'We will target Russia's financial institutions and key industries, and we will target those who are complicit and those who aide and abet this unprovoked invasion.'

The United States will not stop with economic measures, but will further reinforce the Eastern flank of NATO, Harris said at the conference.  

Her speech came a day after Russia appeared to step up its preparations for war. 

A car bomb exploded late Friday near the headquarters of the pro-Russian Donetsk People's Republic, destroying a Soviet-era UAZ jeep that belonged to Denis Sinenkov, head of regional security. He was not reported to be injured.

Russian state media were the first to report on the explosion and picture the bomb site, with a notorious Russian 'journalist' - thought to be a state propagandist - among the first to arrive on the scene. 

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